ATLANTIC CITY - The Walk, a giant outlet mall credited by many for helping to revitalize the downtown area here, will grow again.
Cordish Co. out of Baltimore, the developer of Atlantic City's Walk and the creator of similar entertainment-retail districts in other cities, announced at noon a $15 million plan for a third phase of expansion of the Walk.
"The construction of phase three is anticipated to create 400 construction jobs and 400 new permanent jobs," Cordish Co. chairman David Cordish said at the news conference.
He said construction would begin immediately after a $9 million loan from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority was finalized.
Phase three will consist of 45,078 square feet of factory outlet retail on Christopher Columbus Boulevard, between Baltic and Arctic Avenues. It will be prominently located just at the foot of the Atlantic City Expressway and greet customers entering the gambling city across the street from the Atlantic City Convention Center.
David Cordish said that there could be a fourth phase later, that could include live bands, stage areas and restaurants.
It will front Christopher Columbus Boulevard and will be next to the CRDA's new four-story parking garage, which has not yet begun construction.
The retail expansion by Cordish comes amid declining gambling revenues for Atlantic City's 11 casinos, and ironically, on the heels of another firm's decision to play a lesser role on the Boardwalk.
On Sept. 22, shopping mall heavyweight Taubman Centers Inc. of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., announced it would no longer provide financial support for the Pier, an upscale mall attached to Caesars casino. The Pier has seen falling revenue over the last year.
Taubman said it was no longer able to make payments on a $135 million mortgage. The company said it would continue to lease and manage the 282,000-square-foot mall if its lender agreed. Those negotiations are continuing.
The $49 million Walk was seen as the catalyst for Atlantic City's retail revolution when it first opened in August 2004 featuring eight blocks of outlet stores. The Walk linked the Boardwalk to the new Convention Center and gave conventioneers here something to do besides gamble.
Cordish added five more blocks of stores in a second phase of expansion at a cost of $155 million. That expansion was completed in summer 2007.
"For those skeptics who have left Atlantic City for dead, take a look at the new Atlantic City Live!," the name of the projected fourth phase, said James B. Kehoe, CRDA chairman, said today at the news conference.