Mark Callazzo might just be the walking embodiment of everybody’s favorite car magnet around here. “AC – Don’t Stop Believing” appears to be the unspoken motto of the guy behind The Iron Room bar and restaurant, who is now close to completing the refurbishment of an entire building the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority had been set to demolish.
Studio and one- and two-bedroom Apartments at 1 N. Boston Ave will be available in January, Callazzo said when he took us on a tour of the building earlier this month. You can watch our video from the tour below.
“I like Atlantic City, I believe in its future,” Callazzo said, as he walked us around the building, which has views of the Atlantic ocean on one side and the bay on the other. A challenge – rescuing a building that had been condemned to demolition – also appealed to him, he said. That, plus his confidence that people in their 20s and 30s who work in Atlantic City could be persuaded to move into the city if there was suitable housing in the right location for them.
“I think they’ll rent pretty quickly,” he said, adding that prices will range from $900 to $1300 a month. The trick will be to convince people to take a chance on a city that does yet quite cater to a way of life that draws residents to nearby Ventnor or Brigantine – for example, with coffee shops.
“The biggest negative that I see to the city is to go for coffee I have to go to Ventnor coffee or a casino or go to Starbucks,” he said. Atlantic City’s housing right now is mostly high-end condos or public housing, with nothing in between for people who work in the city and who – if persuaded to live there too – could help the local economy.
The apartment building will be within walking distance of the future Stockton University campus in Atlantic City. Callazzo said the campus is good news, although he didn’t know it would be there when he bought the building in 2015.
The property will have commercial space at the street level and Callazzo said that a coffee shop would be a great tenant, although he said with the Stockton project still a couple of years from opening, the retail space may not rent as quickly as the apartments.
Callazzo is not put off by the city’s financial crisis, brought on by casino closures and a shrinking tax base. “Atlantic City’s immediate thing to me is get the people that work in the city to live in the city and then if the city’s more vibrant I think it helps the surrounding areas,” he said. “You get more amenities, more people want to move here.”
You can watch our video and have a look at the building here: