Atlantic City tries to attract more millennials
Developers in Atlantic City are moving forward with several new housing projects that are designed to entice young professionals to relocate to AC.
Meanwhile, local officials are planning to hold a Millennial Summit in the coming months to discuss how to promote Atlantic City to 20- and 30-somethings.
"The difficulty for Atlantic City is that the basic industry that the city had relied upon has taken a series of body blows, and right now there's not the magnet to attract millennials or others to move there," said Patrick O'Keefe, director of economic research at CohnReznick.
O'Keefe said on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, the so-called "Gold Coast" has been able to attract millennials because of jobs in New York City and a thriving social scene in cities like Hoboken.
According to the 2010 census, 13.6 percent of Atlantic City's population was comprised of residents ages 25 to 34. By contrast, 38.3 percent of Hoboken's population falls within that demographic.
"Right now, unfortunately for Atlantic City, we don't have that same set of conditions that would both attract jobs and a younger cohort of workers," he said.
In order for that to change, O'Keefe believes Atlantic City must be able to offer a full scope of social activities.
"It's the eating and dining establishments, access to museums, to shows, to movies," he said, "an ability on the part of the millennials to have gathering places where they can socialize."
And then there's the matter of jobs.
"For AC to attract a new wave of millennials, there must also be employment opportunities, incentives for employers to move into the city -- not necessarily employers who are going to be in the entertainment or gaming industries, but others who may want to take advantage of a central location," O'Keefe said.
Ultimately, O'Keefe said, this is all going to take time.
"There's going to have to be a shift from the perception that it is still in decline," he said, "to one of a community which has not only turned the corner, but is gaining momentum moving forward."
Three development companies, Alpha Funding Solutions, Boraie Development LLC, and LPMG Properties, are currently among those interested in building in Atlantic City.