DEEM Enterprises LLC has signed a memorandum of understanding to redevelop Bader Field in Atlantic City. From left: DEEM Enterprises representative Dan Gallagher, Mayor Marty Small Sr. and City Council President Aaron “Sporty” Randolph. — Courtesy: Atlantic City
By Joshua Burd
A developer has taken a key step in a bid to transform Atlantic City’s Bader Field, signing a memorandum of understanding with city officials in connection with a nearly $3 billion proposal that includes housing, retail and a racetrack.
The project by DEEM Enterprises LLC reportedly would take place over five years, but only after a due diligence period that’s now set to begin. If the plan moves forward, it would repurpose the shuttered former airport site with more than 1,500 residential units across a mix of product types, along with 160 hotel rooms and some 350,000 square feet of commercial space.
On housing component would involve 432 “motor-centric” condo units consisting of condo, townhouses and duplexes, according to ROI-NJ.com, that would tie into a 2.4-mile auto racetrack for residents’ use. Other related pieces include a motor club, a paddock and garages.
“Last night’s successful, unanimous City Council vote allowed me to sign this document giving DEEM Enterprises exclusivity for six months to do their due diligence on the Bader Field site,” Mayor Marty Small Sr. said in statement released Thursday. “This project won’t just change the landscape of Atlantic City, but it will give our taxpayers relief like never before. The ratable base will nearly double.
“I want to thank every city council member, our city solicitor’s office, our administrative team and the state of New Jersey, including Gov. Phil Murphy, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver and the entire Department of Community Affairs team. This is a great day in Atlantic City and a historic day in Atlantic City.”
The announcement coincided with a memorandum of understanding that was signed by Small, City Council President Aaron “Sporty” Randolph and DEEM Enterprises representative Dan Gallagher. According to a news release, the Renaissance at Bader Field project would also incorporate resilient and sustainable design methodologies, in part by using a microgrid concept for energy generation and distribution, with the ability to utilize clean hydrogen.
DEEM added that the development would look to spur economic growth by attracting new job-creating industries to the historic casino town, increasing its tax base and diversifying future businesses in the city.
“It’s been a long process,” Gallagher said. “I think the taxpayers of Atlantic City need to know what the mayor and members of council went through to make this happen. And I’m telling you, this is just the beginning. You’re going to see a lot of other projects behind this.”
In addition to the new infrastructure, Atlantic City would get $115 million as part of a deal with DEEM, with up to $15 million designated for a new recreation center in the city, and up to $7 million more for dredging. Bader Field has been closed since 2006.
“We are extremely happy we were able to get this agreement passed last night,” Randolph said. “We’re always going to look out for our taxpayers. Development at Bader Field has been a long, long time coming, and this just goes to show that Atlantic City is on the rise.”