New Jersey EDA approves $38.4 million state grant for Atlantic City ‘Polercoaster’

It’s official, the site of the former Sands Casino Hotel in Atlantic City will soon be home to the 350-foot high Polercoaster.

Recently, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) approved an application submitted by the developer of the site, ACB Ownership, LLC, to contribute $38.4 million or 27.8 percent of the $138 million project’s total cost, according to the Press of Atlantic City.

With the final hurdle cleared, “construction of a multi-level level amusement /entertainment complex located at the Boardwalk and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.,” which was announced in May 2015 and given the green light by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) later that year in December, will begin next month. And if all goes according to plan, the vertical roller coaster will be completed before the summer season kicks off on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in 2019.

Other attractions including an XD Theatre, a zip line, a skydiving simulator, extreme ninja course, bar, and retail space are reportedly part of ACB Ownership’s plans for the project. According to the CRDA February 17, 2016 Notice of Decision (pdf) of the preliminary and final site plan, “The project includes approximately 110,000 SF and includes a roller coaster attraction commercially known as the “Polercoaster” consisting of a 7BALL n approximately 350’ tall tower with roller coaster rail attached. The complex will also include a two-car drop ride, a surf club and wave pool, other rides and attractions, amusements, games, event space, retail and food service.”

In August 2015, Florida developer Joshua Wallack of Wallack Holdings signed a lease for a one-acre parcel of land on the 18-acre site of the former Sands Casino Hotel. Formerly known as the Brighton Hotel & Casino, the 21-story hotel tower with 532 rooms, which operated in Atlantic City from August 13, 1980 until November 11, 2006, was imploded in the fall of 2007.

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The news agency reports that the Sand’s parking garage, according to Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, is also owned by ACB Ownership and will also be utilized for the new attraction.

Previous reports indicate that the project is contingent on state economic incentives such as tax rebates from the EDA; at least one loan; and the EB-5 Visa program.

Designed by US Thrill Rides (USTA) and manufactured by ‎Intamin, the Polercoaster is a vertical re-orientation of a roller coaster. The ride, which takes up a fraction of the footprint of the traditional version, consists of trains driven to the top of the ride at which point gravity takes over. Polercoaster also serves as an observation tower which is serviced by two glass elevators. This allows the two top levels to be used as an observations deck and retail/restaurant space, maximizing operator’s value for their location assets, according to USTA.

According to the news agency, a redevelopment plan for 19 acres located near the site was approved by the City Council last month in an effort to increase development options.