Economic Development Action Strategy
City of Atlantic City, NJ
The City of Atlantic City was a uniquely nimble public client with high aspirations to develop competitive economic strategies focusing on diversifying the economy with new industries and opportunities while continuing to leverage the tourism and entertainment industries. The client team was most interested in creating shared prosperity for all Atlantic City residents and creating equitable access to economic opportunities.
The current administration inherited a city with deep financial problems and a long history of corruption. However, over the past several years, the City has continued to develop resources, opportunities, and strategic partnerships to support the city in recovering from economic shocks from previous environmental challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic. The local economy remains highly reliant upon lower-wage sectors, like tourism and leisure, which experienced difficulty during the pandemic. While there is targeted growth in other sectors, the lack of economic diversification leaves the City vulnerable to further economic shocks. Additionally, the large waterfront hotels, resorts, and casinos stand in stark contrast to the largely underdeveloped inland areas of the city, creating a divide between the areas for tourists and locals. Moreover, the city sees little real estate development across all typologies, and developments underway are slow progress.
The City engaged Fourth Economy to create a long-term strategic action plan to maximize growth potential and implement new or stalled community-focused economic and real estate development projects. The strategic action plan provides recommendations for projects that have the greatest potential for broad community benefit. We developed a clear action plan based on an analysis of prior planning efforts, relevant data, and broad stakeholder and resident engagement. The final plan informed strategic opportunities, provide a real estate market analysis, and identify potential avenues for focusing the flow of private capital, public funds, and economic investment.
The Economic Development Action Strategy prioritizes prosperty and and creates a three-pronged approach to address it: Fourth Economy recommended interdisciplinary strategies that knit together real estate development, economic diversification, and community priorities to achieve shared prosperity. Given the findings and recommendations related to real estate development, the City and its partners at NJ Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) are pursuing a $700k+ Phase II Government Restricted Municipalities (GRM) Grant to help advance stalled projects that have an opportunity to create up to $14M in additional tax revenue and more than 600 jobs. Additional investments totaling over $3M have already been allocated for additional priorities identified in the Action Strategy, such as streetscape, facade improvement, and transit and walkability infrastructure. Grant funding is also available for local entrepreneurs to help grow their business ideas and drive local growth in target industries. The City is equipped with an actionable plan to achieve its goals and track its success through identifiable metrics and continued engagement with community members.