Showboat Atlantic City Expansion At $129M, Owner Says Waterpark Only the Start

Posted on: April 23, 2021, 01:52h. 

Last updated on: April 23, 2021, 02:58h.

The Showboat Atlantic City is moving forward with a $100 million expansion project to bring the resort an indoor waterpark measuring 100,000 square feet. But property owner Bart Blatstein has even grander plans for the boardwalk complex.

Showboat Atlantic City waterpark casino
Showboat construction manager Martin Sizmur shows off a rendering for the resort’s future indoor waterpark. Bart Blatstein, owner of the Atlantic City boardwalk property, says the resort is set for a major overhaul. (Image: AP)

Blatstein, a real estate developer based in Philadelphia, announced this week that the waterpark is only the beginning of the former casino’s next chapter. Blatstein says the Showboat’s future plans include a retractable domed outdoor concert theater with a capacity to seat 8,000 people.

He says concepts are also in the works for the largest indoor arcade and sports bar in the state, an outdoor beer garden, and an extension of the boardwalk that will lead to a large sundeck situated in the sand dunes. In all, the further expansion, Blatstein says, will add another $29 million to the total cost.

None of it has to do with casino gambling. All of it has to do with creating a family-friendly destination for Atlantic City.

We’re going to be the first true year-round family resort in Atlantic City,” Blatstein told the Associated Press.

Blatstein’s Tower Investments acquired the Showboat for just $23 million in early 2016. Despite being profitable at the time, Caesars Entertainment in 2014 shuttered the Showboat in order to reduce competition at its other casinos in town. Caesars placed a deed restriction on the property that prevents it from housing a casino.

Investment Expanding

The New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) approved providing up to $2.5 million annually in sales tax credits for the Showboat indoor waterpark late last year. The deal runs for the first 20 years of the entertainment attraction’s life, meaning the development could keep $50 million in tax money it otherwise would have been required to pay the state.

The waterpark blueprint calls for water slides, pools, and lazy rivers, plus food and beverage options, retail outlets, and lounges. The facility is set to be built on what’s currently outdoor beach volleyball courts just north of the resort property.

Blatstein says the indoor arcade and sports bar will occupy 103,000 square feet, much of which previously housed slot machines and table games when the resort was owned and operated by Caesars.

“Everybody loves an arcade,” Blatstein opined to Philadelphia magazine. “People can walk out of a movie not enjoying the movie. People can walk out of a casino and not have a good time, especially if they lose money. But who doesn’t have a good time at an arcade?”

Atlantic City Curb Appeal

Many people and businesses invested in Atlantic City are committed to reinventing the town. A major component of that mission is diversifying the gaming town into a more family-friendly destination.

Following the recent demolition of Trump Plaza, Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. (D) said if he had it his way, “Some mixed-use development with some form of family entertainment” will be built in its place.

Blatstein is plowing ahead with that very objective.

“I am going to have the first year-round family resort in Atlantic City,” Blatstein promises. “This is what it’s missing.”