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ATLANTIC CITY-Mayor Scott K. Evans, at a press conference scheduled for tomorrow, will formally issue a Request for Proposals for the redevelopment of Bader Field, a 150-acre site formerly used as the municipal airport. The airport was closed down in 2006, and in mid-2007 city officials formed an exploratory committee to determine what to do with the property, the last large undeveloped site here.

“The RFP seeks to select the party or parties with the best ideas and concepts to maximize the potential of this highly dynamic development opportunity, which could include, but is not limited to, casino, hotel, retail, entertainment, residential and commercial uses,” says a spokesman for the Mayor’s office, in a statement. “The mandate of the RFP is to maximize value for Atlantic City through upfront and future payments, and through improvements to the city and the related benefits of additional economic activity.”

Selection of a developer or developers is expected to happen by the end of Q1 2009. The site is city-owned, and the disposition is being positioned as a ground lease, “with a substantial upfront payment in order to provide potential developers with a financing mechanism and to ensure that the city shares in the future financial upside of the project,” the spokesman says.

Estimates of the value of the site have ranged as high as $1 billion. Earlier this year, Wyomissing, PA-based racetrack and casino operator Penn National Gaming floated an $800-million offer, but to date has not proceeded beyond taking an option to buy a nearby 23-acre site along Route 30. Other names that have surfaced in regard to the Bader Field site include Wynn Resorts, Boyd Gaming and Pinnacle Entertainment.

Further details of the RFP will be unveiled at tomorrow’s press conference.

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