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ATLANTIC CITY-This city has formally issued a Request for Proposals for redevelopment of the 150-acre site occupied by the shuttered municipal airport, Bader Field. The pending RFP was reported by GlobeSt.com earlier this week.

“Today, we look to the future as we launch our search for the best ideas and concepts to maximize the use of the Bader Field site,” said Mayor Scott Evans at a press conference. “The current financial crisis is a reality, and the RFP reflects this reality and the likelihood that it will have run its course by the time Bader Field comes on line.”

“This redevelopment is a cycle-spanning initiative that requires substantial lead time,” said city council VP Dennis Mason, who also chairs the planning and redevelopment committee. “The likely bidders are sophisticated groups that have long-term horizons and understand the flow of economic cycles. They will recognize that the project is likely to have a four-year arc, and that conditions will be different by the time the project is complete.”

And the city has hired Jones Lang LaSalle to sift through the anticipated proposals. The deadline is Jan. 14, 2009, and city officials say they expect to make a decision on a developer or developers by the end of Q1 of 2009.

The city recently rezoned Bader Field as a resort commercial district, and casino, hotel, retail, entertainment, residential and other commercial uses are all in the potential mix. The site, on N. Albany Ave. at the entrance to this city, is also surrounded on three sides by water, specifically the Intracoastal Waterway.

The site is city-owned and the disposition is being positioned as a ground lease with a substantial upfront payment. Estimates of the value of the site have ranged as high as $1 billion.

“The proceeds from this disposition and its ultimate development will be an important source of funds to support our continuing efforts to improve the city’s financial stability, services and quality of life,” said city business administrator Carol Fredericks.

The airport was closed for good in 2006, and a committee was formed in 2007 to determine what to do with the site. In recent years, Bader Field’s use had been restricted to general aviation. All air traffic in and out of this region now goes through Atlantic City International Airport in nearby Pomona.

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