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HAMILTON TWP., NJ-Officials of Cabela’s, the Sidney, NE-based outdoor equipment retailer, admit they’re looking to build a store somewhere in the Atlantic City area, but will say little else. According to a published report, the store would be in the 200,000-sf range, cost $40 million to build and create about 700 jobs.

Ed Eckman, a corporate real estate executive for Cabela’s, has confirmed only that his company is having discussions “with several landowners” in this township, located just east of Atlantic City. According to a source, the primary target is the 250-acre site of Atlantic City Race Track, owned by Greenwood Racing. Hal Handel, CEO of Greenwood, which also owns and operates the Philadelphia Park racetrack 50 miles west of here, did not respond to a request for comment.

The source says, however, that Cabela’s and Greenwood are “in serious negotiations. The deal could be close.”

Opened in 1946 and once a premier thoroughbred racing facility, Atlantic City Race Track in recent years has conducted only four days of live racing per year, and that only to qualify to operate as a full-card simulcasting site year-round. That regulation was rendered moot a couple of years ago when state voters approved a proposition to allow off-track betting facilities without live racing at several locations around the state, a process that is expected to finally begin rolling out later this year. According to the published report, Greenwood would sell all but 10 of the 250 acres, reserving those 10 acres to establish an OTB facility here.

As part of Cabela’s site search, officials of the company, including Eckman, have met with state Sen. William Gormley (R-Atlantic) and local officials to talk about state and local incentives. But sides have publicly confirmed the meeting, but have not disclosed the results. Sen. Gormley’s office does, however, confirm that he will be meeting with state officials to discuss an incentives package.

Cabela’s is a direct marketer and retailer of outdoor equipment for hunting, fishing and camping, and also operates 10 retail stores. The company last year announced that it plans to open a store in East Rutherford as part of Mills Corp.’s and Mack-Cali’s Meadowlands Xanadu project, but that deal has yet to be concluded.

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