ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (WPVI) -- Leaders broke ground Thursday on the highly-anticipated Atlantic City Gateway project.
It was a formal groundbreaking with VIP's, though the actual work was already underway.
The governor described the Gateway as pivotal.
"This project truly demonstrates that we have turned the corner in our commitment to revitalize Atlantic City," said Gov. Chris Christie.
The complex is expected to have a tower to house 200 corporate staffers of South Jersey Gas. Next door, along the boardwalk, dorm space for 500 Stockton University students. Then, across the street, classrooms for up to 1,800 more.
Shuttles will provide a link to the school's Galloway operation. Courses will include students in business, social work, tourism and maybe more.
"Down the road I would love to see marine science and oceanography here. We have one of the premiere environmental studies and marine science programs," said university president Dr. Harvey Kesselman.
The non-profit developer is hoping this mixed use project at Atlantic and Albany will spark year-round, 24/7 energy.
"There will be 2,000 people coming and going to class, to teach, to work, to come to a coffee shop, going out get a sub or a drink after work," Chris Paladino, president of the Atlantic City Development Corporation.
Neighbor Elayia Manning has watched as casino jobs have disappeared. She's hopeful this sort of project works.
"I think this would be great because it would create jobs for the city. We need that, very much so," said Manning.
The Gateway is on a fast track, with Stockton hoping to welcome the first students there for the 2018-2019 academic year.
Send a breaking news alert
Report a correction or typo
Learn more about the 6abc apps
Big hopes for 'Gateway' project in Atlantic City