Atlantic City saw four casinos shut down in 2014, and despite a lot of talk, nothing significant has been done with any of those facilities so far.
But that may be changing soon, as officials have approved a plan to turn one of those shuttered resorts into an entertainment complex that would include two water parks.
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) approved a plan this week to turn the former Atlantic Club casino into a water park complex.
The plan, proposed by the Endeavor Property Group, would see $150 million or more invested into the complex, provided they can be successful in their negotiations to purchase the resort from TJM Properties.
New Facility Would Have Adult, Family Entertainment
The new complex would include two water parks. In addition, a mix of family and adult attractions will be included in the former resort.
The largest of the water parks would measure more than 80,000 square feet, and would be located across the street from where the casino once was. A smaller park, measuring at over 26,000 square feet, would be located closer to the casino and would feature swim-up bars.
The facility would also include a year-round beachfront café (including a seasonal bar), hotel rooms, and perhaps condos and timeshares as well. Endeavor says that the complex could be opened by winter 2016/2017.
According to CRDA Executive Director John Palmieri, the project is exactly what the group is looking for from investors who want to put money into bringing alternative tourism options to Atlantic City.
“All of these kinds of activities that promote entertainment, non-gaming amenities, tourism related improvements,” Palmieri said, speaking of the kinds of investments the CRDA is designed to support.
Straub Had Also Proposed Water Park for AC
This isn’t the first time the idea of a major water park at one of the closed Atlantic City casinos has been floated.
Florida developer Glenn Straub offered up the same idea earlier this year when talking about potential ways in which he could develop the former Revel Casino Hotel.
Straub’s plans for the Revel (which have varied over time) would include both casinos and family friendly entertainment. However, the plans for the Atlantic Club won’t include any gambling facilities.
Second Project Also Approved
The water parks weren’t the only plans for Atlantic City approved this week. In addition, the CRDA greenlighted a proposal to use a 14-acre parcel of land on Albany Avenue for “corporate offices and potential academic use.”
That proposal was the brainchild of AC Devco, a nonprofit company that is committed to accelerating the development of the city in areas outside of gaming. The group is funded by the CRDA itself.
The mention of “potential academic use” has led to some speculation that Stockton University could be interested in the property, as the school had hoped to build a satellite campus at the former resort.
However, officials have not said whether the school has any plans for the site.
The Atlantic Club had been the smallest of the 12 casinos operating in Atlantic City, and was on the market for a buyer for some time before finally closing in January 2014.
For a time, it appeared as though online poker giant PokerStars would purchase the facility, but that deal fell through, and no other buyers emerged before it closed.
Since then, three other Atlantic City casinos have also closed in the wake of falling gambling revenues in the resort city. They include the Revel, the Showboat, and the Trump Plaza.