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Showboat Atlantic City owner wants to build beach bar to complement indoor water park concept
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Showboat Atlantic City owner wants to build beach bar to complement indoor water park concept

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Showboat Hotel Atlantic City

The owner of the Showboat Hotel Atlantic City wants to construct a beach bar in front of the property to compliment his proposed indoor water park.

{child_flags:top_story}{child_flags:breaking}Showboat Atlantic City owner wants to build beach bar to complement indoor water park concept

{child_byline}DAVID DANZIS

Staff Writer

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ATLANTIC CITY — In addition to aspirations of a world-class indoor water park, Philadelphia-based developer Bart Blatstein wants to construct a beach bar in front of his Showboat hotel.

Blatstein submitted a proposal to the city Sept. 9 seeking approval for the beach bar and to be designated the redeveloper of several city-owned beach lots. According to the redevelopment plan documents, a beach bar and entertainment space would consist of both permanent and temporary structures between Delaware and New Jersey avenues in the space between the Boardwalk and sand dunes.

Blatstein did not respond to a request for comment on the proposal.

On Wednesday, City Council sent the proposal to the Planning Board for review. The Planning Board next meets Oct. 6.

The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority also will have to approve the plan since the state agency has land-use and zoning authority in the Tourism District.

By having the area designated as being in need of redevelopment, the project avoids having to go out for public bidding for contracting services. Under the Municipal Stabilization and Recovery Act of 2016 (the legislation that placed Atlantic City under state control), the state could also bypass the public bidding process on the city-owned land.

Should Blatstein be granted approval for the beach bar and designated as the redeveloper of the project, it could be leveraged to secure additional financing, according to city officials.

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The proposed redevelopment plan would also be eligible for short-term tax abatement, but Atlantic City would receive some level of revenue from the project.

Barbara Woolley-Dillion, the city’s planning and development director, told City Council the proposed beach bar would complement Blatstein’s 100,000-square-foot water park, which he looking to build on an empty lot between Showboat and Ocean Casino Resort.

“This would result in not only improvements that may be taxable, but it will result in an additional enhancement in that area of the Boardwalk, result in additional business being brought in,” she told City Council. “And I think that it would be a good complement to the other uses in the city and would have an overall benefit for the city of Atlantic City.”

The Boardwalk area from Resorts Casino Hotel to Ocean — which includes not only both properties, but also Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, the Steel Pier, the Orange Loop and Showboat — has been rebranded as North Beach. The section of the city and Boardwalk has been growing in popularity and visitation since Hard Rock and Ocean opened in summer 2018.

Council Vice President Moisse “Mo” Delgado expressed concern about Blatstein’s ability to complete the project given the developer’s unfulfilled promises in the past, most notably with the Playground Pier and the Garden Pier. Delgado also wondered if the redevelopment proposal would give Blatstein a “competitive advantage” in that area of the Boardwalk, given how much real estate he would control and/or own.

The Showboat’s yet-to-be-approved aquatic park project also calls for a renovation of the Showboat’s existing Premier Light Tower.

Blatstein said he believes the proposed 100,000-square-foot water park and entertainment center will be a catalyst for getting more families to Atlantic City.

“This is, basically, a family resort with a hotel anchored by an indoor water park, and there’ll be many, many other amenities,” Blatstein testified in June. “My team and I are very, very excited about developing this property.”

Blastein purchased Showboat from Stockton University for $23 million in 2016, two years after the former Caesars Entertainment Corp. closed the casino hotel as part of the company’s bankruptcy restructuring and imposed a deed restriction preventing casino gaming on the lot. The Showboat has been operating as a noncasino hotel for the past four years.

Blatstein sold the building on the Playground Pier in January — a property he leased for $2.7 million in 2015 — after stating he would invest more than $50 million into the former Pier Shops at Caesars. He also owns the closed Garden Pier across from Ocean.

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Contact: 609-272-7222

ddanzis@pressofac.com

Twitter @ACPressDanzis

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Staff Writer

I cover Atlantic City government and the casino industry since joining The Press in early 2018. I formerly worked as a politics & government reporter for NJ Herald and received the First Amendment: Art Weissman Memorial NJPA Award two years in a row.

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