The Heldrich Hotel remains the center of a development project that has failed to meet expectations. The 235-room hotel opened in 2007 and has continued to struggle throughout the recession and the economic recovery. Because of its low occupancy rates the business was forced to use its own operating capital to complete renovations. Principal and interest payments in the amount of $1 million were not made in January.
Chris Paladino, the head of the non-profit organization managing the project expressed frustration with the current events, but felt that the project has still remained a success. In an article published on the Press of Atlantic City website, he stated that the goal of the Middlesex County Improvement Authority was to improve the neighborhood where the hotel now stands. Paladino believes this was accomplished thanks to the large amount of jobs the hotel provides for residents of the area and the additional benefits from the 100,000 people who stay and visit the hotel each year.
Paladino is the head of the New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO), the non-profit involved with the project. The company was founded in the 1970s to help revitalize the area. Over the last 40 years DEVCO has overseen nearly $2 billion in projects in the city of New Brunswick and the surrounding areas.
The company is notable for its unique method of revitalization. They have focused their attention on a small, densely populated area of the city. They work with property owners, government organizations and other investment firms to create mixed-use properties. The goal is to create a city that is self-sufficient, thriving and enticing to tourists as well as people seeking to relocate. Paladino, a New Brunswick resident, believes that despite some setbacks their efforts are making amazing headway towards achieving this goal.