Stockton Atlantic City - Coastal Resiliency Center

Stockton Coastal Resiliency Center
Stockton Coastal Resiliency Center

In July 2018, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) issued a Request for Qualifications/Proposals (RFQ/P) to New Jersey municipal and county governments for the award of Innovation Challenge grants. 

In response, the City of Atlantic City applied to fund a feasibility study for a Coastal Resiliency Institute & Marine Science Center to be built under the auspices of Stockton University. As required by the grant application, grantees held discussions with several partners to gauge potential interest and encourage participation in the project. These included:

  • Local and State Offices:
  • Institutions of Higher Education:
  • Non-Profit and For-Profit Partners:

All participants share a common goal, to strengthen coastal resilience in South Jersey, and serve as a model for such work on a national level. This has practical applications, such as the design, maintenance and restoration for buildings and infrastructure in the region able to absorb or avoid damage without suffering complete failure. It also has more systemic and preventative connotations. A resilient structure/system/community should not only be able to resist an extreme event with minimal damage and functionality disruption, but also rapidly recovery its functionality similar to—or even better than—its pre-event level. Consequently, resilience is multi-faceted, covering four dimensions: technical, organization, social and economic. 

This work is especially relevant in New Jersey where, since 2005, almost $4.5 billion in property value has been lost because of flooding related to sea-level rise. But it also is a necessarily growing national concern. Severe hurricanes cost the United States $300 billion in 2017 alone, and that price tag is only expected to rise. The economic losses caused by natural disasters have increased significantly from an average of about $50 billion a year in the 1980s.

It is estimated that average global flood losses will increase nine-fold by 2050, from $6 billion per year in 2005 to $52 billion a year. This forecast only considers socioeconomic factors, such as growing population and property values. Add in the risks from sea-level rise and global flood damage for large coastal cities could cost $1 trillion a year if cities do not take steps to adapt.
Considerable research and development are already underway to identify and develop a vast array of legislative, regulatory, policy, planning, institutional, financial, and capacity-building instruments. Moreover, there is growing public awareness about the need to strengthen disaster resilience as a critical component of efforts to achieve sustainable socioeconomic development and poverty reduction. Perhaps most importantly for New Jersey, offshore wind is being pursued as a viable alternative power source for the first time in the U.S.

The global need for scientific research to inform sound policy decisions to resolve coastal issues is self-evident and urgent. Such solutions can promote much-needed economic diversity and development in the Atlantic City region, which is a statewide and regional public policy priority. In addition, federal officials are considering prioritizing funding for resiliency based on the aggressiveness of the region to address future natural disasters – the Coastal Resiliency Institute & Marine Science Center would certainly help to advance the State’s efforts to secure federal funds.

The proposed Coastal Resiliency Institute & Marine Science Center will also offer a focal point for scientific research and needed policy debates, as well as continue to diversify the region by providing an economic driver that provides higher-paying jobs, educational opportunities, and innovative branding. Work is proposed in two phases.

  • Phase 1: Establish a Coastal Resiliency Institute & Marine Science Center Incubator
  • Phase 2: Secure funding for a Permanent Home for the Coastal Resiliency Institute & Marine Science Center

A proposed 60,000SF three story multi-tenant facility located on 10-15 acres of Bader Field along Albany Ave. The proposed project includes a possible partnership with other Public and Private institutions for the purpose of studying, educating and promoting industry and business growth in the region regarding Blue Economy and Coastal Resiliency. The facility is proposed to include site development of improving the site in accordance with codes and regulations having jurisdiction, access drive off of Albany Ave (Route 40), parking lot, boat launch and docks facility, out-building for servicing of marine equipment.  The Building is proposed to include multi-tenant spaces for offices, conference, labs, classroom and auxiliary space.

Bader Field - Bader Field is the largest available development site in Atlantic City. It is accessible by Route 40 and the Atlantic City Expressway. If there is to be a commercial/research campus in Atlantic City, this is the most likely location for that development owing to the large, developable area and lack of major environmental constraints. Thus, it has the potential to be a very strong asset in the diversification of the economy. The site is immediately adjacent to a 40-acre parcel that fronts on Albany Avenue and is restricted by the State Green Acres Program. The University District Overlay Zoning District map indicates that 15-acres of Bader Field is reserved for future educational use. The remainder of the Bader Field site is planned as a Tech Park and would be an idea setting for private sector resiliency companies (i.e. engineering, research & development, architecture, planning, etc.) 

The City of Atlantic City has deemed this site an idea location for a technology hub. The State re-established the Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation to identify and build out centers of innovation. It is recommended that the City and Stockton University work with the Commission to designate Bader Field as a center of innovation.

The property is not owned by Stockton University.  The intention is for Stockton and the owner (Atlantic City and the State of New Jersey) to arrange a partnership in the development of the proposed project.

Refer to Coastal Resiliency Center and Marine Science Center EDA Report, dated August 2019 for additional details and information.

As a result of the proposed development of the project, there will be an increased demand for parking. Possible solutions may include partnerships with area parking vendors of surface or structured parking, expanded parking lot partnerships with Atlantic City on Bader Field or Stockton may review options for additional real estate ownership acquisition of available property for surface or structured parking.