The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority Board approved Tuesday two retail attraction projects to give tourists something to do that doesn't involve gambling and a reason to stay in Atlantic City an extra day.
"We're looking for new, fresh ideas to make the area safe, clean and welcoming," said James Kehoe, chairman of the CRDA board. "At 6 o' clock at night, we don't want someone pulling down their garage door so their goods are not stolen."
Kehoe said the Innovation Pavilion and Atlantic Avenue Façade Improvement projects — which were both proposed in the Atlantic City Tourism District's master plan — will provide "something unique that if you're a younger person or an older person you would find interesting and interactive."
"We're targeting national companies who can invest a lot of money to provide something different that you won't find anywhere else," Kehoe said. "We're putting (the projects) out there on a national basis and hoping for people like Microsoft (Corp.) … to come into the space and develop something new."
Kehoe said any company chosen to design or construct a project under the master plan must have respect for the shoreline and the buildings' historic features.
"The pavilion will be somewhere on the boardwalk, but we're still having discussions about where it will be, because we don't want it to impact anyone's view of the Atlantic Ocean or our beaches," Kehoe said. "The main reason why people should come to Atlantic City is for the beach and ocean."
In addition to housing unique attractions, the pavilion will provide a platform for panoramic viewing of the beach, ocean and boardwalk. The façade project will renovate the exteriors of seven commercial storefronts and six two-story residential units, located on the north side of Atlantic Avenue's 1700 block.
For both projects, Atlantic City-based Craig F. Dothe Architects LLC will provide architectural and engineering design services, to be completed within a few months.
"Our aspirational goal is that if a company has the ability to design something new and they're local, then we prefer them," Kehoe said. "If they don't, then they're not in the game."