Finally, someone has found a use for one of Atlantic City’s closed casinos.
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority yesterday approved a new usage for the former Atlantic Club, the first casino of four to close in 2014. Devon-based Endeavor Property Group wants to turn the casino into a waterpark complex.
Endeavor wants to spend $150 to $165 million to transform the former casino into a year-round attraction featuring two water parks, beachfront bars and family entertainment. The company is currently negotiating to buy the property from current owner TJM Properties.
The primary 81,454 square foot water park would sit on land across the street from the old casino. A second water park would be 26,670 square feet and feature swim-up bars and other adult attractions, Endeavor said at a public hearing earlier this month.
Endeavor also plans a year-round beachfront bar. The towers at the Atlantic Club would also be re-opened as a mix of hotel rooms, timeshares and even possibly condos at the new attraction.
The Atlantic Club began as the Golden Nugget Atlantic City, a casino with no relation to the current Golden Nugget in Atlantic City’s marina. It was built by casino magnate Steve Wynn in 1980, but he sold it to Bally Manufacturing and left Atlantic City in 1987. It became the Bally’s Grand Hotel and Casino, then later the Atlantic City Hilton, then later still ACH. It became the The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel in 2012 and lasted almost two more years before closing.
After battling with regulators in New Jersey, Wynn says now that he foresaw Atlantic City’s problems: “Las Vegas is surviving in spite of everything because the infrastructure here is so big. The menu for guests is so great. Atlantic City can’t just be a local crap game. It’s gotta be a destination city.”
Now, 35 years after Wynn opened the casino at Boston Avenue and the Boardwalk, some of the non-gaming attractions he wanted could be coming to the city in the form of a this water park.
Endeavor says it hopes to open the new attraction in the winter of 2016-17. There are no plans for a casino at the site.
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