ATLANTIC CITY (February 20, 2019) – The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority will spend $1 million for free concerts at Kennedy Plaza on the Boardwalk this summer — for the first time covering every night of the week.
The CRDA board voted to amend its Tourism Market Expansion Project at its meeting Tuesday.
“Any true seaside resort must have a vibrant music scene,” said board Chairman Robert Mulcahy. “We are spending $1,000,050 to put this on. It really does go towards our mission of providing entertainment in the city.”
The concert series has been a staple of summer for years but has never covered every night of the week before, said Mulcahy.
The CRDA also gave final approval to plans for Pat Fasano’s NYOrangeDeeds LLC to build a 10-room shipping container hotel with outside entertainment space and a 10,000-square-foot retail building on the beach block of New York Avenue and St. James Place.
That complex is part of the Orange Loop project to redevelop the beach blocks of what are traditionally the orange streets on the Monopoly game board, which also includes Tennessee Avenue.
Fasano has already opened the Cajun-style Bourre restaurant, which is next to the site for the entertainment, hotel and retail complex.
Approval included variances for building setbacks and parking, the latter of which sparked some debate.
The developer will build 53 parking spaces, but the zoning required 120.
“We can do this once,” but not multiple times, said CRDA board member Edward Gant. “It’s a concern for me.”
Fasano’s attorney, Nick Talvacchia, said there is a nationwide trend toward needing less parking, in part because of what he called the “Uber effect.”
“A lot of garage owners are saying they are losing business,” said Talvacchia, “because people are using Uber when they go out.”
He said nationally the Uber effect has reduced parking at restaurants by 25 percent.
Young people especially, Talvacchia said, tend to hail a ride service rather than drive. And Fasano’s complex will cater to people already in the city, many of whom will walk there from their hotels, he said.
The summer music plan includes the return of the Chicken Bone Beach Jazz Concert Series after a four-year hiatus. That series will be on Thursday nights from July 4 through Sept. 5, according to CRDA spokesman Larry Sieg.
“We are glad to see jazz entering back into play,” said Mayor Frank Gilliam. The Chicken Bone Beach Historical Foundation will run the series, at a cost not to exceed $150,000.
Other series are the Broadway on the Boardwalk Series, run by JudiLudi Productions of New York City, for up to $250,000; a Mardi Gras series run by Tony Mart LLC, for up to $175,000; a Tribute Tuesday Concert Series by Mulhern Entertainment featuring tribute bands of Kiss and others, at a cost of up to $75,000; and a Boardwalk Summer Concert Events series run by 609 Event Productions, which will include country, reggae, hip-hop, Latin and other types of music, at a cost of up to $175,000.
The Broadway series on Monday nights will include sing-off contests by local performers, said Judi Ludovico of JudiLudi Productions. Past shows that have participated included “Beautiful,” “Wicked” and “Chicago,” she said.
Carmen Marotta, who runs Tony Mart LLC, said he will be bringing musicians from New Orleans to play 12 concerts of roots and blues music.
Ivan Neville will be one of the artists performing, said Marotta. Neville will open for the Rolling Stones at this year’s New Orleans Jazz Festival, Marotta said.
The full schedule with specific nights and starting times will be available after the minutes of the meeting are approved by the Governor’s Office, officials said.
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