Shuttered Atlantic Club Casino Hotel is Falling Apart

Posted on: January 18, 2018, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: January 18, 2018, 01:52h.

The former Atlantic Club Casino Hotel is reportedly raining debris onto Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City.

Atlantic Club debris Atlantic City
Part of the ceiling near the Atlantic Club entrance collapsed last fall, and now more debris is spewing from the building. (Image: Craig Matthews/Shore News Today)

January 13 marked four years since the Boardwalk resort closed its doors, and the aging building is, well, really starting to show its age. Reports surfaced this week that debris from the building’s exterior are crumbling off and falling to the ground below.

Last September, the ceiling of the Atlantic Club’s porte-cochere collapsed.

Atlantic City Director Dale Finch, who oversees the Office of Licensing and Inspection, confirmed that he was aware of the issue and it was being addressed. “I spoke with the owners,” Finch told the Press of Atlantic City. “They’re going to see what exactly is occurring, and I will follow up with an inspector.”

TJM Properties, a Florida-based real estate firm that specializes in hotels and senior living facilities, acquired the closed Atlantic Club from Caesars Entertainment in 2014 for just $13.5 million. Opened in 1980 by Steve Wynn as the Golden Nugget, the resort hosted numerous celebrities in its heyday including Rat Packers Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin.

Going to Pieces

TJM Properties is no stranger to Atlantic City, as the company also purchased the 500-room Claridge Hotel in 2014 from Caesars and renovated the historic Boardwalk property. But TJM isn’t a casino operator, and hasn’t been so willing to invest in trying to reopen the Atlantic Club.

Last April, a reported deal that would have turned the Atlantic Club into a family entertainment center and waterpark fell through. TJM said the deal with a New Jersey development group was canned after the buyer failed to secure the appropriate financing.

However, in October, TJM hinted that the shuttered resort was once again nearing a sale, but to date, nothing has been confirmed.

Richard Perniciaro, Atlantic Cape Community College Dean of Facilities, Planning, and Research, said last year that owners of closed casinos must weigh the cost of property upkeep with a potential sale price and future use. Is the likely buyer going to be interested in renovating the remaining structure, or more likely to tear it down?

In the case of the Atlantic Club, its condition might hint that TJM believes the land underneath it is what will eventually attract a qualified buyer.

Buyer’s Market

Atlantic City’s seven remaining casinos saw total gaming revenues climb more than seven percent last year. 2017 marked the town’s second consecutive year of gaming growth following nine years of declines.

The stabilization has incited new investments. Hard Rock was the first to bite, announcing last March that it was acquiring and renovating the former Trump Taj Mahal into a rock ‘n’ roll-themed resort at a cost of more than $500 million.

Revel came next, with the closed $2.4 billion resort recently unloaded to Colorado developer Bruce Deifik at a cost of $200 million. Both the Hard Rock and Revel, the latter which will be renamed Ocean Resort Casino, plan to open this summer.

The Atlantic Club, the southernmost Boardwalk casino, presumably didn’t garner much interest from the aforementioned buyers. The closest casino resort currently in operation is the Tropicana, nearly three-tenths of a mile north up Pacific Avenue.