Can Atlantic City be a real place, a city with a life separate from its casino identity?
Philadelphia developer John Longacre (American Sardine Bar, South Philadelphia Taproom, reNewbold) thinks so. “Every time a casino closes, I get goose bumps,” he said.
That’s because Longacre – along with a handful of developers who are to gather at a forum at noon Wednesday on new housing opportunities in Atlantic City – sees the epic contraction of the casino market as the key to the city’s reinvented future.
He believes “a different population” – millennials, boomers, anyone who likes cities, not to mention a city with a beach – will want to live in the apartments he is building out of the historic Morris Guards Armory on New York Avenue in the center of town.
Longacre’s LPMG Properties expects to close on the property this week and plans to sink a few million dollars into creating from 29 to 35 rental units priced between $900 and $1,200, with his coveted style of commercial use on the ground floor. “We’re going to bring our family of brands to Atlantic City,” Longacre said.
That’s the kind of talk that gives city officials goose bumps.