Casino developers are doubling down on Atlantic City.
Although it’s been three years since Borgata opened, developers are poised for a multi-billion dollar building boom that will add up to four new casinos over the next few years.
Tom Carver, who manages the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority — a powerful state agency that oversees the investment of millions of dollars of industry fees — estimates a total of $10 billion will be invested in AC over the next three years.
That figure includes as many as four new casinos as well as planned expansions, such as the redevelopment of Bally’s by Harrah’s Entertainment, and renovations already under way, such as a hotel tower at the Trump Taj Mahal.
"I think Atlantic City right now is the economic engine of the state of New Jersey," Carver said.
Carver added new development could generate as many as 50,000 casino and ancillary jobs.
Three proposed casinos are in various stages of development. Pinnacle Entertainment, which purchased the Sands and an adjacent parcel, announced it would demolish the casino and build a $1.5 billion resort in its place.
In addition, an arm of Morgan Stanley is gearing up to announce plans for a resort next to the Showboat; and former Caesars chief Wally Barr has an agreement to buy a plot of land near the Hilton for a third casino.
Even casino mogul Steve Wynn was mentioned as being interested in building a resort, perhaps on a site along the Boardwalk.
To prepare for an influx of development in a city described by Carver as a "large cul de sac," the development authority recently received authorization to fund a transportation master plan.
The analysis will consider everything from light rail to expansion of Atlantic City International Airport to the possibility of making central roads, such as Pacific Avenue along the Boardwalk, one way.
"All of these things have to be looked at," Carver said.