Atlantic City Economic Update: Let the Trains Run on Time

From the desk of our Chief Operating Officer, Kenneth J. Calemmo, Jr.

The former REVEL has now received a new life as the Ocean Resort and plans are being made to have it open by this summer.  This is blockbuster stuff!!  Welcome, Bruce Deifik and his team to Atlantic City.  Together with the opening of Hard Rock this summer, and there is a tremendous economic engine about to hit the north end of the Atlantic City.  These two properties will have a need for 5,000 to 6,000 new employees.  And, while many of these individuals fill positions as wait/bar staff, dealers or housekeeping, many more fill roles in finance, marketing, technology, promotion, legal/risk management, etc.   This will have a almost immediate impact on the velocity of cash moving around the Atlantic City marketplace.  We are about to move the proverbial needle.

Now where do we find 5,000 plus employees.  Many still remain in the market and are in need of jobs and will return to one of these properties.  Others will move back into the market.  This should jump start housing prices. The available housing stock in and around Atlantic City is still priced well below other markets and there are deal that can be made.  Land prices in Atlantic City are still affordable and call out for construction of workforce housing. A perfectly  situated project located between Ocean Resort and Hard Rock is the Boraie project.  Opening soon will be 250 market rate apartments that will serve the families of workers at these properties.  The timing of this project could not have been better.

Many more employees will need to come into the market from outside Atlantic County.  Back in the early 2000’s, every county in the State of New Jersey had a citizen that was employed in Atlantic City.  I cannot imagine that is the case any longer.  However, it goes to show how far some will travel for good jobs.  Which brings me to getting the trains to run on time – I mean that tongue-in-cheek of course.   However, we have a great resource in train service into Atlantic City and, most importantly,  need to utilize that resource to help spur greater economic development.  The need to move so many employees could easily enhance ridership along the AC to Philly line.  What need be done is to work with the large employers in the city to insure that the timing of the trains actually meets the work schedules of the employers and develop a system to get them that “last mile” to their place of work.  I see Jitneys in this future.

My last post I indicated I felt good about the vision of AC in 2018 and I remain bullish.  There are some good people doing good things.

My best  and keep moving forward.

Ken

From the desk of our Chief Operating Officer, Ken Calemmo: 2018 is looking BRIGHT!!!

I want to wish everyone a HAPPY HEALTHY and PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!!

I have a great feeling about Atlantic City in 2018.  There is a great deal of economic activity taking place in the city that will have an impact throughout the city and state.  Remember every wave starts as a ripple!!

New administration in Trenton and in Atlantic City.  In 2018 we welcome in New Jersey’s new Governor Phil Murphy and Mayor to Atlantic City Frank Gilliam.  Both have great insight and interest in growing the pie in the city, creating economic diversity and breathing new life into the town.  Discussion between the two have been occurring and there is a sense of parallel purpose to work together and make AC a great playground to live, work and enjoy.

Stockton and South Jersey Gas will open their respective facilities in the city in 2018.  This undoubtedly will spurn additional investment at the south end of town.   Real estate investment in and around their neighborhood has been very active.  By the end of the year some 2000 people working in the area and attending school will need to eat, shop and buy services.

My prediction is that Bader Field will see new life in 2018.  Something will happen on that site this year.

Hard Rock is set to open in the summer of 2018 and will bring thousands of jobs to the town.  Fingers crossed that the former REVEL will see its doors open in 2018.  Similarly, with the uptick in economic activity, Showboat, Trump Plaza and Atlantic Club are due to see changes and activity in 2018.

S2872 – amendment to the Grow New Jersey Legislation is on the verge of passage and will hopefully become law within days.  This legislation will enhance economic incentives for investment and job creation in Atlantic City and for the one mile radius around the Atlantic City Airport.  If you have or know of a business looking to relocate that has 50 or more employees, this could be a great opportunity for them.

Lastly, let not us forget Sports Betting.  The US Supreme Court should be rendering a decision in 2018 that could open up sports betting in New Jersey.  This has been a long road for New Jersey and Atlantic City.  Should SCOTUS rule in favor of New Jersey, I believe every casino in the city is positioned to be up and running in a mater of weeks.  This will only create more excitement for the city.

All good stuff and more to come.

Keep moving forward.

Ken

Ken Calemmo writes: Economic Development 101 – “Get Good Information”

Helping to grow the economic capacity of any region takes input from my stakeholders.  One size does not a shoe make.  Accordingly, as we continue to look for opportunities to grow our region it is important that we consider the views and ideas of many stakeholders.  The Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce has been and will continue to provide Leadership Panels from various segments of our economy to give us the needed insight into markets impacting our pocketbook.  Here in Atlantic City, our market has been dependent upon our Casino and Hospitality industry for decades.  As such, what a great place to start off 2018 with leadership from this industry.

This Wednesday, December 6, 2017, the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce will present its Chamber Leadership Series: A Casino Update.  It will feature Marcus Glover, President and COO, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa; Matthew Harkness, President, Hard Rock Atlantic City; Mark Giannantonio, President & CEO, Resorts Casino Hotel; and Tony Rodio, President & CEO, Tropicana Entertainment, Inc.  This Panel will be discussing how the industry will be impacting the future of Atlantic City.  This should be of particular interest given the recent election and new administrations of Mayor Elect Frank Gilliam and Governor Elect Phil Murphy.

This is a great chance to hear first hand from industry leadership.  Additional information about the event can be found at the Atlantic City Chamber website or simply Click Leadership

Hope to see you there- Keep moving Forward!!

Nicholas Talvacchia to moderate “Casino Leaders Discuss the Future of Atlantic City” Wed. Dec. 6

Chamber Leadership Series
Casino Leaders Discuss the Future of Atlantic City
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
8:30 AM10:30 AM EST
Atlantic City’s casino leadership will provide an update and discuss investments made in the market, why business is up and the diversification of the product including internet gaming and generating revenue through non-gaming attractions.
Moderator: Nicholas Talvacchia, Esquire. Partner, Cooper Levenson, Attorneys at Law
Panelists:
Marcus Glover, President and COO, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
Matthew Harkness, President, Hard Rock Atlantic City
Mark Giannantonio, President & CEO, Resorts Casino Hotel
Tony Rodio, President & CEO, Tropicana Entertainment, Inc

This will be a very unique opportunity for you to hear from key leaders from our Atlantic City casinos, all in one room. This is going to be a can’t-miss event so register now!

Sponsored by Volunteers of America, Impactivate, Atlantic City Electric, and Cooper Levenson Attorneys at Law

Sports Tourism at its best!!

CHECK THIS OUT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNJgKPKgDac

Back in September Steve DelMonte, owner and founder of DelMoSports http://delmosports.com/ put on the second Ironman 70.3 Triathlon in Atlantic City.  And, I would add with GREAT success.  It was a sell-out of 2,700 athletes and was voted the #1 large Triathlon in the United States.  And, guess what? The backdrop of this event was — ATLANTIC CITY!!!

Spend any time with Steve DelMonte and you will quickly feel his passion and enthusiasm he has for Atlantic City as a great venue for these types of events.  Beautiful Ocean and Boardwalk, biking through the Pinelands of New Jersey in a MAJOR resort town.  While the athletes love the course their families and friends enjoy the city just as much.  I have said it before that Atlantic City can do events and these sport related tourism activities are well within our wheelhouse.  Think about it – Ironman – the number one brand of Triathlons chose AC to be an ambassador for its brand.  Pretty good company.

They are coming back again – join DelMoSports for IRONMAN 70.3 next year September 23, 2018.

We need to keep focused on this type of tourism and expand and grow it.  Fun –runs – Marathons – Ocean Swims – Volleyball – Soccer – Rugby- Lacrosse –  Wrestling – Cheerleading – Basketball and the list goes on and on.

Start working out and hope to see you next year at the IRONMAN.

Keep Moving (running, biking and swimming) Forward.

My best.

Ken

Your Second Home should be in AC

Kudos to Elizabeth Terenik for a terrific op-ed article appearing today in NJ Spotlight — “Op-Ed: Atlantic City and the American Dream 2.0 ” .   She identifies and articulately makes the case of the second home market in Atlantic City.  This article oozes with opportunity for families, couples, individuals and hopefully some forward thinking developers.  It is reminiscent of what everyone wants in a second home – Joy, Happiness, Content, Togetherness and Family.   However,  it goes beyond that.  Nostalgia aside, Ms. Terenik adeptly makes the economic argument that now is the time to invest in that second home opportunity in Atlantic City.

Neighborhoods are changing over, housing prices are at an all time low in AC and in most cases you are no more than 3 blocks from the beach.

I highly recommend a read of this one.  Please check out her article  – Click Here

Elizabeth – Thank You!!

Keep Moving Forward!!

Ken

All Aboard! by Kenneth J. Calemmo, Jr.

I cannot remember when my love of trains began.  From an early age I just loved the sheer size and power of these machines.  There is just something about trains that says America.  Over the years I still remain a huge fan, however, my appreciation is now more – let’s say – economic and utilitarian.  I still love to ride trains and consider them by far one of the best ways to travel and connect communities.  The ultimate goal in transportation is Convenient Accessibility – people’s ability to access services, jobs, markets, worksites, products, raw materials, families and friends.  My vote goes to the railways.

I was extremely delighted when scanning the “Atlantic County Master Plan, Farmland Preservation Plan, and Open Space and Recreation Plan” dated May 2017 (Click HERE for a copy of the Executive Summary).  Midway down  page 7 the first  bullet point reads–

  • Encourage the creation of a second track on the NJ Transit’s Atlantic City Line to provide improved freight rail and passenger rail service between Atlantic City and Hammonton and points between Atlantic County and Philadelphia.

That means MORE TRAINS!!!  That one bullet point is a tremendous economic impact driver with long ranging influence over our region.   I recognize there is NO silver bullet that will solve all the economic ills that we may be facing, but a SILVER BULLET TRAIN is a game changer.  If you take a close look around many of the train stations in the Northeast you will see growing business and development, job growth and economic activity.  Having only a single rail line between AC and Philly complicates the scheduling and movement along the rails.  At present the connection between AC and Philly is nearly a 90 minute trek.

Now add that second rail and a faster train that connects AC and Philly in 35 to 40 minutes – GAME CHANGER!!   Convenient Accessibility now comes into play.   People will move between AC and Philly for jobs, entertainment/gaming, professional services, shopping etc. with ease.  Atlantic City and surrounding shore towns are conveniently connected to the Delaware Valley.  People can live at the beach with great food, entertainment, activities, ocean and boardwalk and work in communities between Atlantic City and Philadelphia.  We also give an added boost to manufacturing concerns along this rail line for economic cost effective shipment of product, as well as  shipment of agriculture and seafood through the northeast corridor and beyond.

This is an idea whose time has come and I fully support Atlantic County’s efforts to enhance rail service.  Yes, there will be significant hurdles and costs that must be overcome.   However, in the long term economic impact will return ten-fold.

Get on the TRAIN with me – and KEEP MOVING FORWARD!!

Takeaways from the Atlantic City Air Show, 2017 Edition

by Kenneth J. Calemmo, Jr.

SPECTACULAR!!  AWESOME!! TREMENDOUS!!  UNBELIEVABLE!!!

Those are the words repeated time and time again at this past weeks 15th Thunder Over the Boardwalk Atlantic City Airshow.  400,000 people were invited to this party and all had a great time.  It was a well coordinated event that continues to get better every year.  Frankly, I believe that this is the marquee event of the summer.

Here are the takeaways from this year’s Airshow _

  • Yes, Atlantic City can do family events.  If you were on the beach or Boardwalk this past Wednesday, August 23, 2017, there were toddlers to teens to octogenarians – all shapes and sizes.  AC knows how to use its prized resource – the Beach and Boardwalk.
  • Greater Atlantic City Chamber can throw one hell of a party!!!  Congratulations to Joe Kelly and his incredible staff for a flawless event.  This takes hours of preparation, meetings and coordination – however, they have it down to a science.  When it comes to events in the city – the Chamber knows the people and the process to get things done.  This is a classic Private/Public partnership!
  • Atlantic City can handle events.  There are 400,000 people many at the center of town that are here for six to eight hours without problems.  People flow and traffic flow moved about the city without incident.  Law enforcement and emergency responders also have this down to a science and in large part to their efforts make this an enjoyable and safe event.  Thank you for your efforts.
  • The greatest takeaway is economic impact – in excess of $30million in additional revenue is generated for the region by the Airshow.  By many accounts it is the biggest business day of their year for most merchants.

Atlantic City needs to continue to exploit the Boardwalk and Beach for events large and small.  The beach concerts have been extremely successful – similarly marathons and races have are brought enjoyed by large crowds.  AC is a great mosaic once we start intertwining all the threads.

Please check out more photos of the Airshow at the AC Chamber’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AirshowAC/

My best.

Keep Moving Forward!

Ken

PS – CHECK OUT PREVIOUS BLOGS HERE

Birds-Eye View of the Gateway project in Atlantic City

by Ken Calemmo

Check out this recently released video produced by Stockton University for the new gateway project in Atlantic City.  It will give you a birds-eye view of the Stockton project and South Jersey Industries building.  It is spectacular!!

Let the video do the talking  —  GO OSPREYS!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b04H__yd6jY&feature=youtu.be

Great stuff – Keep Moving Forward!

Congrats to Atlantic City Electric (ACE): Energy Discounts for Growing Enterprises Announced

by Ken Calemmo

CONGRATS to Atlantic City Electric (ACE) – who recently announced a new business incentive directed at reducing your electric utility costs.  The ENERGY DISCOUNTS FOR GROWING ENTERPRISES or EDGE provides a 20% discount off the electric delivery portion of the rate for five years to industrial or commercial business enterprises who are expanding or relocating their space.  Of course this incentive must be in the ACE service territory and does require the purchase, leasing or expansion of 8,000 sq. ft. or more of new space.  You will find full details at the ACE Website http://www.atlanticcityelectric.com/edge/

Depending on the business operations of your company this incentive can have a sizable impact.  We are all looking for the added EDGE (I love that acronym) and while this might not be a determining factor for an organization to move into our community, when you team it up with other incentive programs, it will give the City another tool in the tool box to attract business.

I applaud ACE for their commitment to economic development and thinking outside the box to institute this program for business.  Working together will continue to be a theme that must be echoed long and loud – Thanks ACE!!!

Get an EDGE on your business and KEEP MOVING FORWARD.