Showboat Atlantic City Converting More Guest Rooms to Studio Apartments

Posted on: December 23, 2022, 04:44h. 

Last updated on: January 18, 2023, 09:09h.

The Showboat Atlantic City Hotel continues to undergo changes. Four years after the former Boardwalk casino hotel received local approval to convert 400 guestrooms into 264 residential units, owner Bart Blatstein is doubling down on his residential bet.

Showboat Atlantic City casino hotel Bart Blatstein
Construction on the indoor water park being built next to the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City is seen in August 2022. The Showboat is planning to reconfigure another lot of former casino guest rooms into studio apartments. (Image: 42 Freeway)

Blatstein acquired the Showboat in early 2016 from Stockton University for just $23 million. Casino gaming ceased at the property when former owner Caesars Entertainment permanently shuttered the resort in August 2014.

Though the Showboat casino was profitable at the time, Caesars decided to close the property to ease market saturation for its three other casinos in town — Caesars, Harrah’s, and Tropicana. Caesars placed a deed restriction on the building that prevents it from being used again as a casino.

The deed restriction has prevented Blatstein from returning gaming to the New Orleans-themed resort. The Philadelphia-based real estate developer and owner of Tower Investments has gotten creative in keeping the Showboat profitable despite lacking a casino floor.

Along with reutilizing former casino guest rooms for private residences, Blatstein is building an indoor water park next to his Atlantic City hotel on what was formerly outdoor beach volleyball courts. Blatstein has also invested in what’s billed as the largest arcade in the country.

Now, Blatstein wants to transform more of his property’s hotel rooms into private dwellings.

CRDA Approval

During its meeting this week, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) signed off on allowing Blatstein to reconfigure another 308 Showboat hotel rooms into apartments. The CRDA has planning and development authority over Atlantic City’s Tourism District.

Blatstein says the project will result in 312 studio apartments. But aside from that, details on the renovation are slim.

There was no word as to how long the construction would take, nor when it would start. Blatstein also did not comment on whether the residencies would be rentals or offered for sale.

The Showboat’s initial apartment conversions have been offered for long-term stays. Weekly rates for apartments at the Showboat begin at $1,300 for a studio, $1,800 for a one-bedroom, and $2,400 for a two-bedroom.

Apartment rentals, the Showboat says, come with many of the hotel’s amenities, including access to the rooftop pool, complimentary self-parking, housekeeping service, 24-hour concierge service, linen and towel service, on-site maintenance, and laundry. Showboat residents are also afforded bike rentals and bike storage, and each residence comes fully furnished with its own kitchen.

Bader Field Pitch

Blatstein remains optimistic about the future of Atlantic City, and he’s betting on nongaming to keep the beachfront town vibrant. Along with his Showboat overhaul and water park development, Blatstein recently pitched the Atlantic City and New Jersey governments a multibillion-dollar plan to redevelop Bader Field.

Blatstein, with state and local approval, says he would embark on a $3 billion plan to redevelop the former airport complex into a mixed-use residential complex called “Casa Mar.”

The Casa Mar plan includes 10,000 residential units, retail and office space, and a 20-acre public park. Canals would intersect the residential areas to allow for more waterfront living.

But Atlantic City has another competing bid for Bader Field. A group called DEEM Enterprises has proposed a $2.7 billion redevelopment of the grounds that would also feature residential housing in a mixed-use community. The project would be highlighted by a “world-class motor course.”

The state is tasked with determining the winning bid. New Jersey retains control of Atlantic City’s governance. The state’s takeover was initiated in 2016 to reign in runaway expenses, high taxes, and poor governance of the seaside gaming resort town.