Stockton University OKs Atlantic City Student Housing Partnership

But Board Says It Needs Extra $5 Million a Year from State for Project With AC Devco to Move Forward

Stockton University has decided to move ahead with plans to expand student housing for its Atlantic City, New Jersey, campus, but it says it can’t proceed unless it gets financial help from the state of New Jersey.

At a special meeting Wednesday, the school’s board of trustees authorized the administration to negotiate a public/private partnership with Atlantic City Development Corp., known as AC Devco, for the second phase of its student housing project. AC Devco, a nonprofit redevelopment company, is proposing to build a $62 million, 405-bed residential complex on property adjacent to Stockton’s campus on Atlantic Avenue in Atlantic City.

However, the trustees’ approval is contingent on the state appropriating at least an additional $5 million in annual aid to the university to support the ongoing academic and operating costs associated with the project and the university’s Atlantic City operations, Stockton said in a statement.

Gov. Phil Murphy’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The university, based in Galloway, New Jersey, has created a $178.3 million campus on Atlantic City’s well-known boardwalk. Diversifying the seaside city’s economy beyond gambling, with newcomers like Stockton, is considered a linchpin in the gaming mecca’s successful future and ongoing economic recovery.

Last fall, Stockton and AC Devco opened a roughly 56,000-square-foot academic center at 3711 Atlantic Ave.; a 535-bed, nearly 220,000-square-foot student residential complex that faces the beach at 3701 Boardwalk; and a seven-story, 875-space parking garage at 3800 Atlantic Ave.

The additional student housing would be built on the site of the Eldridge Building at 3532 Atlantic Ave. , a university spokeswoman said in an email. The building is vacant and would be torn down and replaced by the student housing, according to the spokeswoman.

Currently, the university has housing for 3,484 students at both the Galloway and Atlantic City campuses. In fall 2018, the occupancy rate was 98%, Stockton said. The residential complex in Atlantic City is projected to be at capacity for fall this year, according to the university. Based on current and projected enrollment, Stockton said it will need additional housing in the 2021-2022 academic year.

In testimony before the state General Assembly budget committee in May, Stockton President Harvey Kesselman requested a $5 million increase in its annual appropriation in recognition of the university’s investment in Atlantic City and New Jersey’s students. This funding would be in addition to any money the state deems appropriate to promote funding equity among the four-year public comprehensive and research universities, according to Stockton.

Stockton and Montclair State University currently receive the lowest funding from the state per full-time student among the four-year public comprehensive and research universities, Kesselman said. Stockton received $18.4 million in direct operating funds from the state last year, according to the university spokeswoman.

“We are hopeful that the state will continue its investment in Atlantic City towards establishing an ‘eds and meds’ corridor critical for the city’s future, while stemming the outmigration of New Jersey students,” Kesselman said in a statement. “We are proud to play a role in this initiative but cannot proceed without corresponding state funding. The Legislature’s and the governor’s support are critical for this project to proceed.”

The Legislature hasn’t presented its budget yet, and it won’t be finalized until June 30.

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Atlantic City Bets on Resurgence with New Oceanfront Campus

Atlantic City business and government officials are hailing the recent opening of Stockton University’s $178.3 million campus on the gambling mecca’s fabled boardwalk as a positive sign for the long-awaited economic recovery for New Jersey seaside community long down on its luck.

“This is the first non-casino development project in this city in years … and it is the first of many,” said New Jersey Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald, a Democrat representing the 6th legislative district.

Stockton University Atlantic City, which opened for classes this month, includes a roughly 56,000-square-foot Academic Center at 3711 Atlantic Ave.; a 145-unit, nearly 220,000-square-foot student residential complex that faces the beach at 3701 Boardwalk; and a seven-story, 875-space parking garage at 3800 Atlantic Ave. Stockton is also purchasing a former casino in the city, a site for even more expansion by the school.

This report on the continuing resurgence of the Atlantic City market from the CoStar Group research organization is being offered through South Jersey commercial real estate broker Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a South Jersey commercial real estate brokerage firm.

Turning Atlantic City into a university town is part of an effort to revitalize and diversify the city’s troubled economy, said Jon Hanson, a prominent North Jersey real estate developer and chairman of Atlantic City Development Corp., known as AC DevCo, a non-profit redevelopment company.

“Atlantic City had one industry, the casino industry,” said Hanson, the founder and chairman of Hampshire Companies in Morristown, Morris County. “This is the first start in having non-casino areas.”

The new Stockton campus was built through a public/private partnership with AC DevCo, an effort funded by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The Authority provided $65 million in tax incentives; the Atlantic County Improvement Authority, which bonded $127 million toward the project; the state’s Higher Education Capital Improvement Fund Act; Stockton University and South Jersey Industries, a natural gas company planning to move to the site.

The goal for the resort city on the ocean is to bring “eds and meds,” university and health-care facilities, as expansions to the local economy, according to State Senate President Steve Sweeney. He spoke, along with Hanson and Greenwald, at a recent dedication ceremony for the new campus.

While the talk is upbeat, Atlantic City is still not out of the woods in terms of its financial woes and its need to create a new non-gambling-centric economy, according to a new report by the state.

That report, commissioned by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, recommends that the city remain under state, not local, control. The state took on oversight of Atlantic City in 2016, when several casinos closed their doors and the city was deep in debt.

“This city was literally two years ago days away from bankruptcy … but we fought for the Atlantic City economic opportunity and recovery,” Greenwald said.

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Stockton University Takes Another Bet on Atlantic City

In yet another expansion into the Atlantic City market, Stockton University has agreed to buy the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel property, which has been closed since January 2014.

The sale, and Stockton’s continued investment in the Atlantic City market, is yet one more piece in the comeback of the city that still uses America’s Playground in its marketing campaigns. The Atlantic Club was one of five casinos to shutter its doors in Atlantic City, but now all but one, the bankrupt Trump Plaza, have been revived or found new uses.

This CoStar report is being offered through Wolf Commercial Real Estate, an Atlantic City commercial real estate brokerage firm specializing in the Atlantic City market and all types of Atlantic City commercial real estate listings.

The Atlantic Club property, not far from a new campus that Stockton plans to open in the Atlantic City market at the end of this month, includes roughly nine acres of upland lots, a beach lot with about 11 acres, and a nine-level parking garage that has 550,000 square feet for parking and 50,000 square feet of office space. There also is a 23-story hotel tower on the site that will be demolished by the seller – TJM Properties of Clearwater, FL– as part of the final agreement.

There is very limited growth potential in nearby Galloway Township, the location of Stockton’s main campus – due to restrictions regarding development in the federally protected Pinelands. This is why Stockton is creating campuses in the Atlantic City market, according to university officials.

Stockton’s new Atlantic City campus, which is to include hospitality-training classes, is located at the intersection of Atlantic, Albany, and Pacific avenues, with apartments for more than 500 students overlooking the beach and Boardwalk. It will also have a parking garage and an academic center.

The project is a public/private partnership with Atlantic City Development Corp. (AC Dev Co), a non-profit redevelopment company, and South Jersey Gas, which is also building a new headquarters at this prime location site in the Atlantic City market.

The university recently sold the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway Township for $21 million to KDG Capital LLC of Tampa, FL, and that money will go toward the purchase of the TJM property. Stockton had used the golf club and hotel facilities for student housing.

For more information about the Atlantic City market or other Atlantic City commercial properties please call 856-857-6301 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a premier Atlantic City commercial real estate broker.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage and advisory firm, is a premier Atlantic City commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of Atlantic City commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other Atlantic City commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors and sellers.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, an Atlantic City commercial real estate broker with extensive expertise in Atlantic City commercial real estate listings, provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new Atlantic City market properties with the Atlantic City commercial properties that best meet their needs.

As experts in Atlantic City commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Atlantic City commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Atlantic City commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for properties in the Atlantic City market for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the Atlantic City commercial real estate broker you need — a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of Atlantic City commercial properties and Atlantic City commercial real estate listings for lease or sale through our Atlantic City commercial real estate brokerage firm.