Headed by Chris Paladino, DEVCO, more formally known as Atlantic City Development Corporation, serves as a means to reclaim and refurbish down-trodden properties, especially currently closed casinos. The overall purpose of this endeavor is to enhance the world’s longest boardwalk. One targeted business to be reclaimed is Trump Plaza.
A recent Press of Atlantic City article indicates that the city’s PILOT bill is still intact. Codes of this bill indicate that Atlantic City is slated to receive $120 million annually for the next 10 years from casino operations.
The underlying purpose of Devco is to make Atlantic City a safer, more user-friendly vacation destination as well as to attract new year-round residents, especially families with school-age children. It could be said that the main goal of DEVCO is to foster a community aura. In the pipeline, are plans for the construction of a new medical training facility and long-term healthcare entities.
Current DEVCO concerns include the Heldrich Hotel project. A Press of Atlantic City article ironically dated February 29, 2016, highlights an ongoing dispute between Middlesex County Improvement Authority and CRDA (Casino Reinvestment Development Authority) relative to a loan whose current interest totals $20 million. Originally instituted in 2005, repayment statistics indicate a 5-year payment lapse resulting in $7 million in arrears.
As overseer of new projects valued at $200 million, CRDA’s portion of DEVCO totals $19.5 million. Current focus revolves around the Heldrich Hotel refurbishment that includes 235 guest accommodations whose current usage is estimated at 63.5 percent. According to an attorney who represents both DEVCO and CRDA, the imploding of this cash-needy business resulted for CRDA to put up $776,000 due to the inability of hotel revenue to repay the loan.