The Atlantic City Gateway: A project built for growth

June 19, 2017 Real Estate NJ

Joshua Burd

Stockton University’s new Atlantic City campus is still more than a year from opening, but the school and its developer are already thinking about what comes next.

Christopher Paladino, president of AC Devco, said his team learned early on that Stockton administrators and students alike were eager to grow their footprint beyond the initial 4.8-acre site that is currently under development for the school. As such, the 56,000-square-foot academic building will be built to handle 1,700 students, some 700 more than the initial population that’s expected to come to the campus in fall 2018.

“One of the things that we understood is that students didn’t want to come to a satellite campus,” Paladino said during a recent tour of the site. “They wanted to come to an urban campus, but they wanted this to be a real campus, so we hope that there’s room here for Stockton to grow.”

The Stockton project, part of the $220 million Atlantic City Gateway development, also includes a 533-bed residential complex and 15,000 square feet of retail along the Boardwalk between Atlantic and Albany avenues. But the university will be joined by South Jersey Industries, which will occupy an adjacent six-story, 72,000-square-foot office tower atop a parking garage.

Paladino said the site could accommodate more housing for Stockton students, but that would not take up the balance of the property. AC Devco is also talking to other corporate users that could join South Jersey Industries in relocating to the city.

The utility, which is moving from Folsom, will bring some 200 professionals and utility workers to site. CEO Michael Renna said he believes his workforce will “feed off the energy of a college campus” and benefit from what he believes will be the growth of the surrounding neighborhood. But the new tower will provide an invaluable upgrade to the utility’s existing headquarters, which is in a rural location and is no longer able to accommodate its growth.

“From a building perspective, this is really giving us a chance to build a modern, technologically advanced building,” Renna said. “For us, more than anything else, it’s going to help with our recruiting. It’s going to allow us to put amenities into a building that we can’t do today.”