June 29, 2015
The apartment building at North Boston and Atlantic Avenues | Via Google Street View
BY JAMES JENNINGS
It seems like the lion share of development in Philadelphia these days is geared at capturing the ever-wandering attention of the young professional, also known as millennials. No matter what you call them, their influence isn’t only being felt in the City of Brotherly Love. Head southeast about 60 miles and there is an interesting apartment conversion about to take place that will look to serve the young workforce of Atlantic City.
Mark Callazzo wears a few hats in the region. For one, he’s the CEO of Alpha Funding Solutions, the lending and development team from Lakehurst, New Jersey behind the renovation of a former apartment building at 1 North Boston Avenue. He’s also the owner of the Atlantic City Bottle Co. and The Iron Room, a speakeasy restaurant in Atlantic City that happens to employ a few young people. Before the CEO Callazzo got involved in the renovation, he polled some of the “kids” at his restaurant to see what they thought of the city. The results? None of them live in A.C., mainly “because there is no good, affordable, cool housing,” said Callazzo. “And that’s what we’re looking to do.”
Alpha purchased the 5-story, 30,000-square-foot apartment building (vacant for two years) from the Casino Redevelopment Authority in April. The plan is to convert it into 31 apartments with three separate ground floor retail spaces. Callazzo said the retail spaces would be completed first and then the team would fix up each floor one-by-one. A restaurant will be in one of the space and Callazzo mentioned that they have been “talking to some Philadelphia retailers about maybe having an Atlantic City outpost.”
Floor plans, some of which will have ocean views, would be a mix of studio and two-bedroom apartments ranging from $900 per month to $1,200 (and above) per month, respectively. “It’s in a great spot two blocks off of the boardwalk in a good part of town,” said Callazzo. The project is expected to be completed in full by early 2017.
It looks like this is the beginning of a trend in A.C. Philly’s own John Longacre has ventured into the land of Boardwalk Empire to revive the former Morris Guards Armory building on New York Avenue. Alpha is the lender on that millennial-driven development as well. “We’re going to market them together because we want to hit the same demographic,” said Callazzo. “There are more things in the city to do for that age group. It’s kind of a natural thing that housing would come along with it.”
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