">http://casinoconnectionac.com/issue/vol-8-no-7-july-2011">Vol. 8, No. 7, July 2011, The Tides
Bader Field Eyed for Casino Development
Mon, Jul 18, 2011
">http://casinoconnectionac.com/author/casino-connection">Casino Connection Staff
Although it’s a distressed market, a development company is bidding to be the third or fourth new casino project as it eyes the last and largest piece of land in Atlantic City.
Bader Field, the former Atlantic City airport, may be sold to a group of developers for more than $400 million. Win-Win OND, a partnership of a Pennsylvania and New Jersey company, would build a large multi-use complex that would include a casino and bingo hall, a family entertainment complex, a 3,000-room hotel and condominiums, an arena, movie theaters and more.
The partnership includes H. James Bickel of Adams-Bickel, based in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, and Stanley Baldino, a builder from North Jersey. While the partnership would pay $425 million for the land, they would request concessions that include a 75 percent local tax rebate and “adequate” water and sewer facilities.
Bader Field was an active airport until September 2006. It was the site that coined the name “airport” in 1919 and was used later by casinos as a private landing site for chartered and corporate aircraft. Prior to the U.S. recession, it was viewed as the most valuable land parcel on the East Coast. The city declined an $800 million offer from Penn National Gaming for the site at that time.
Since then, the land has been dormant. Even the Atlantic City Surf, a minor league baseball team, abandoned the Sandcastle stadium in 2009, which then was then abandoned by the owner, the city of Atlantic City. But the visit from the Dave Matthews Caravan, a music festival headlined by the musician, attracted 70,000 fans in June, awakening interest in the 134 acres of land. The site was recently incorporated into Atlantic City’s tourism district, which is controlled by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA). A law was also passed in 2010 that required state approval for any sale of Bader Field, effectively emasculating the city government.
Plans by Win-Win OND include a monorail that would connect the facility with the Atlantic City rail station, adjacent to the convention center and the Walk retail outlet stores at the foot of the Atlantic City Expressway. The development would employ more than 13,000 people, according to the developers, and throw off $33 million from its high-stakes bingo operation, which would benefit the Atlantic City Public School District.
The CRDA has been designated as the development agency for Bader Field. But a permanent executive director has not been named and a consulting firm that would be hired as planning experts is not yet in place, according to the Atlantic City Press.
The developers gave no clue about how the land purchase and construction would be financed.