The Stockton University Board of Trustees on Aug. 8 authorized moving forward with a purchase agreement with TJM Properties for property near the new Atlantic City campus that will open in September.
The property includes 11 upland lots totaling approximately nine acres, one beach lot totaling approximately 11 acres, a nine-level parking garage containing approximately 550,000 square feet for parking and approximately 50,000 square feet of office space, and a 23-story hotel tower and improvements.
The site, formerly the Atlantic Club, has been unoccupied since 2014 and the hotel tower would be demolished by the seller as part of the final agreement.
Stockton President Harvey Kesselman said the proposed purchase is an investment in the future of both Stockton and Atlantic City.
“We are buying our future” Kesselman said. “And we are trying to make the best investment we can.”
Kesselman said the proximity of the site to the new Atlantic City campus and the new University District makes this parcel attractive.
“There is so much excitement around our new campus,” he said. “We want to be able to provide even more opportunities for New Jersey students to remain in the state to attend college.”
Stockton anticipates an enrollment of 10,000 by 2020. Fall enrollment is expected to exceed 9,500. There is very limited growth potential in Galloway due to Pinelands restrictions.
“This property will help secure Stockton’s future in Atlantic City,” Kesselman said. “As an Anchor Institution, Stockton is committed to playing a key role in the future of Atlantic City. It is important to the state that Atlantic City is successful and we are a part of that economic engine.”
No timeline has been set for the closing. The university must first complete its review and due diligence. The trustees also approved a $72,500 contract with SOSH Architects to assess the site and produce a Due Diligence Report. The final purchase and sale agreement must also still be reviewed by the N.J. Office of the State Comptroller.
The price will be disclosed after the closing. The revenue generated from Stockton’s recent sale of the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway Township for $21 million will be allocated toward the purchase of the TJM property.
There are no immediate plans for construction on the land, but it provides space for additional academic, residential and retail use.
The parking garage and surface lot will accommodate future anticipated parking needs for faculty, staff and students. The parking garage has office space Stockton can renovate and use or lease. Commercial space in the garage may also be renovated and leased.
The vote to move forward was unanimous among the seven participating trustees. Board of Trustees Chairwoman Madeleine Deininger said the trustees are excited about expanding the opportunities for students in Atlantic City.
“It is deeply moving to me to be part of this effort,” she said. She thanked Kesselman and the entire Stockton team for its work.
Trustee Meg Worthington cited the potential of the site to help with the diversification of the economy of Atlantic City.
“This is a really big step and an excellent move,” she said.
Trustee Nelida Valentin said she hoped Stockton’s growth in the city will encourage more students to remain in New Jersey to attend college.
Trustee Leo Schoffer also credited TJM Properties President Terry McCarthy for his cooperation and vision to see what the property could become.
“He had the understanding of the uniqueness of this site for Stockton and the community and helped Stockton take advantage of this opportunity,” Schoffer said.
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