December 03, 2009

Blueprint for the Future

Live! and Kicking

The dust hasn’t settled from NexGen’s groundbreaking when The Cordish companies broke ground for Phase III of Atlantic City Outlets – The Walk, a $15 million development that will expand the retail outlet sector by 46,000 square feet along the foot of the Atlantic City Expressway.

In Phase IV of the project, Chairman David Cordish also plans an “Atlantic City Live!” district, an “entertainment magnet” with nightclubs, comedy clubs, concert venues and more modeled on Cordish’s patented “Live!” developments in Kansas City, Louisville, Baltimore, and Shelbyville, Indiana.

“Together with the state of New Jersey, it is our firm conviction that Atlantic City Live! in the center of Atlantic City will have the same revitalizing effect as it has in other cities,” said Cordish a the groundbreaking.  He anticipates a total capital investment of more than $100 million in Atlantic City Live!, which could create hundreds of construction jobs and thousands of permanent jobs.

It’s good timing for Atlantic City, where casino revenues have been on the slide for 13 straight months and another retail heavyweight has decided to trim its support of a major shopping center on the Boardwalk.

In September, Taubman Centers Inc. announced it would no longer provide financial support for the Pier Shops at Caesars, an oceanfront shopping mall with luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Swarovski.  According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Michigan-based company said it was no longer able to make payments on a $135 million mortgage.  Taubman said it would continue to manage the 282,000-square-foot shopping center if its lender agreed.

The Walk, on the other hand, seems to be riding out the recession just fine, with reported overall increases of 5 percent to 10 percent at is 105 outlet stores.

Asked how The Walk tenants can thrive despite the economy, Cordish told the Inquirer, “We’ve become a regional shopping center for locals.  People from an hour away are coming to do their shopping here.”