Jon F. Hanson, founder and chairman of The Hampshire Cos. and board chairman of Atlantic City Development Corp., received an honorary degree from Stockton University at the school’s July 19 topping-off ceremony for its new Atlantic City residence hall. — Photo by Susan Allen/Courtesy: Stockton University
By Joshua Burd
The team behind a new Stockton University residence hall in Atlantic City gathered last week to highlight the project, slated to open in fall 2023, while honoring the revered developer Jon F. Hanson for his role in guiding new investment to the resort town.
The event took place July 19 and included a beam-signing ceremony as construction crews topped off the six-story, 135,000-square-foot building rising at Atlantic and South Providence avenues. When complete, the nearly $70 million project will further Stockton’s expansion in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood, which includes an earlier student housing complex and academic building that opened in 2018, sitting alongside a new headquarters tower for South Jersey Gas.
University officials joined Atlantic City Development Corp., or AC Devco, which is overseeing the development, to both showcase the project and present Hanson with an honorary doctor of public service degree. Hanson, founder and chairman of The Hampshire Cos., is also AC Devco’s board chairman and was instrumental in launching what’s known as the Atlantic City Gateway Project, as well as other high-profile economic development efforts city over many years.
“I am deeply proud of the work that AC Devco has already accomplished to create opportunities for transformative real estate investment in one of New Jersey’s most important cities,” Hanson said. “I would like to thank Stockton University for this recognition, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with them and our partners to continue to execute our vision for Atlantic City.”
Hanson received the honorary degree from Stockton President Harvey Kesselman and Provost Leamor Kahanov.
“He is an individual who has dedicated his life to making a positive impact in his profession and his community,” Kesselman said. “We would not be here without the dedication of Jon Hanson and his effort to bring Stockton to Atlantic City and diversify its economy.”
AC Devco President Christopher Paladino highlighted the success to date of the Gateway project and what’s still to come as part of Stockton’s expansion.
“Chairman Hanson and President Kesselman shared a vision, and it breathed new life into the city,” Paladino said. “The investment has changed the tempo of this neighborhood and has brought 4,000 people to live, study, teach and work in the Chelsea neighborhood.”
Plans for the newest Stockton building include a lounge, a meeting room and laundry facilities, while residents will have access to parking in an existing parking garage. The complex has replaced the historic Eldredge Building across from O’Donnell Memorial Park and about a block from two existing university buildings.
“This expansion pays homage to our start in Atlantic City,” said Raymond Ciccone, chair of Stockton’s board of trustees and Stockton alumnus, referring to the university’s opening days at the former Mayflower Hotel in the municipality.