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ATLANTIC CITY, NJ-This gaming resort may have had an off year in 2007, but that hasn‘t deterred those looking to expand and build anew here. One of those projects, the proposed MGM Grand Atlantic City took a step forward this week when the Las Vegas-based MGM Mirage filed its application with the New Jersey DEP for a Coastal Area Facility Review Act permit. A Cafra permit is one of the key requirements for any major coastal development in New Jersey.

MGM Mirage had formally rolled out its proposal for the 72-acre site near the Borgata in the city’s Marina District in October. Those plans call for three hotel towers totaling 3,000 rooms, a 500,000-sf retail component, restaurants and convention facilities and a casino with 5,000 slot machines, 200 table games and a large poker room. The hotel/casino would occupy 60 acres, and 12 acres would be set aside for future expansion. Total price tag is in the $5-billion range.

MGM Mirage is moving ahead with the project, buoyed by the success of the Borgata, which it co-owns with the Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming. And while the Cafra process can take several months, company officials say they hope to start construction in 2008, with an anticipated opening in 2012.

“We believe Borgata’s success demonstrates the eagerness for further evolution in the country’s second-largest gaming market,” says MGM Mirage chairman and CEO Terry Lanni. “We will continue to raise the bar.”

Another potential project has taken a step forward here as well. As reported by GlobeSt.com, city officials want to have the 150-acre city-owned site of the closed Bader Field, the city’s original airport, redeveloped, and this week named the state’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority as the site’s redevelopment agent. While a casino/hotel isn’t etched in stone, Wynn Resorts, Boyd Gaming and Pinnacle Entertainment are among those that have already expressed interest.

As part of its deal, CRDA has agreed to loan the city $25 million, which would be paid back from the proceeds of the site’s eventual sale. The loan will be used to set up a tax-relief fund for local residents and businesses.

“The $25 million deposit on the sale of Bader…will allow my administration and the city council to relieve the burden on Atlantic City taxpayers,” says Mayor Scott Evans, in a statement.

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