Atlantic City Has Highest Foreclosure Rate for Four Straight Months

For all the talk about how Atlantic City’s casino closures are really just “right-sizing” the market and how the city has more to offer than just gambling — it still has the highest home foreclosure rate in the country. One in every 257 Atlantic City housing units had a foreclosure filing in October, according to a new report from RealtyTrac. That’s more than four times the national average and the fourth consecutive month where Atlantic City topped the dubious list.

And foreclosures are increasing. In October, foreclosures were up 14 percent from the previous month — driven by a 26 percent monthly spike in foreclosure starts — an increase of 134 percent from a year ago. Read more »

More Windfarms Approved for Atlantic City, Could Power 1.2 Million Homes

The New Jersey Wind Energy Area from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

The New Jersey Wind Energy Area from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

The windmill farm that greets you on the drive from Philadelphia to Atlantic City represents so much. It not only means clean, renewable energy, but it’s a welcoming sign that there’s something bright, modern and green for a struggling city that relies heavily on gambling, entertainment and revelry for survival.

Just yesterday, two companies won the rights to develop windmill farms on nearly 344,000 acres in federal waters off the coast of Atlantic City. Here’s how it breaks down: Read more »

Blatstein: The Playground in Atlantic City to be 100% Leased in 2016

A rendering of T Street via Tower Investments

A rendering of T Street via Tower Investments

It takes time to get most anything done these days. That’s especially true when you’re trying to revive a $200 million failed whale of a luxury shopping mall into an entertainment destination full of lively bars, high-end shopping, tons of food options and sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Such is the case with developer Bart Blatstein at the former Pier Shops at Caesars on the boards of Atlantic City. The developer, along with Steelman Partners, is in the midst of a massive transformation project to take it from seldom-visited mall with plenty of empty storefronts to what’s now dubbed The Playground, a development that Blatstein said would help remake Atlantic City into the entertainment capital of the East Coast.

Blatstein bought the mall about a year ago, and announced his plans for The Playground in April. The first phase of the project, a multi-venue music walk and bar scene akin to Beale Street in Memphis called T Street on the building’s first floor, was ready to go for the summer season in June. The build out took about ten weeks, and Blatstein brought in Garces Events to cater the food and beverage menu and staff each venue.

In a traditional scenario, Blatstein told Property, it would take anywhere from 8 to 12 months to put together a lease for retail tenants and build out the space, and it could take up to two years to do the same for a restaurant. Blatstein labeled the turnaround for T Street “a miracle.”

“Instead of it taking two years to do, we did it in the matter of two months,” said the developer, who called the previous operations at the Pier “rudderless” when it was the mall. “When we took it over, it was 60 percent vacant. We will have 100 percent occupancy in 2016 … the turnaround is the story.”

Read more »

Revel Owner Glenn Straub: House Syrian Refugees at Ex-Casino

Revel - Atlantic City casino hotel

Revel on its last full day of operation in 2014. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

The Syrian refugee crisis is a tragedy with no end in sight. And winter on its way, refugees will be facing new struggles in the coming months.

Enter Glenn Straub. It’s been a while since we checked in on the owner of the former Revel casino in Atlantic City, but today he gave an interview to the Associated Press about the casino, still shuttered more than a year after it closed.

And, yes, he has an idea. Read more »

Facebook Video of A.C. Man Attacking Homeless Woman Leads to Quick Arrest

A screenshot from the disturbing video of the attack.

A screenshot from the disturbing video of the attack.

On Monday, the Atlantic City Police Department arrested 25-year-old Ibn Hunter, charging him with the aggravated assault of a 45-year-old homeless woman. Police were assisted in the investigation by a Facebook video that was shared over the weekend. Investigators say that Hunter is the man seen punching the homeless woman in that video. Read more »

Atlantic City Is The Drunkest City in New Jersey (Well, Tied For 1st)

Tony's Baltimore Grill bar sign

A sign in the window at Tony’s Baltimore Grill in Atlantic City. (Photo | Dan McQuade)

It’s no surprise that a city where the booze flows freely at all hours is the drunkest in New Jersey. What might be surprising is Atlantic City is not alone at the No. 1 drunkest place in New Jersey: It’s tied with Belmar, Monmouth County.

The new rankings, compiled by RoadSnacks, rank New Jersey cities based on the number of bars/pubs/liquor stores/wineries per capita, plus the number of recent drunk tweets and the divorce rate. (Okay, that’s pretty clever.) And A.C. and Belmar — not to be confused with Camden County’s Bellmawr — came out tied for the No. 1 spot. Read more »

Bart Blatstein Really Is Buying the Old Showboat Casino

Showboat Casino

Showboat Casino on September 1st, 2014, the day after it closed. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

Today, Stockton University officially announced the news that broke earlier this week: The university had agreed to sell the old Showboat casino, which it purchased last year, to Bart Blatstein’s Tower Investments.

The purchase price will be $22 million. Stockton bought it for $18 million last year. Earlier this week, trustees authorized the sale of the site.

“We anticipate this being the culmination of months of effort wending through the court system, untangling a previous contract and allowing us to move forward with a new purchaser,” Stockton interim president Harvey Kesselman said in a release. “The Board of Trustees and I look forward to closing this chapter in Stockton’s history while moving forward with our efforts to grow our commitment to an Atlantic City renaissance.” Read more »

Stockton: Icahn Wanted 1,331 Hotel Rooms to Waive Casino Pact

Showboat Casino

Showboat Casino on September 1st, 2014, the day after it closed. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

Yesterday, an independent report commissioned by Stockton University about the school’s disastrous purchase of the former Showboat casino was released. The report blamed many, but mostly former Stockton president Herman Saatkamp, who was forced to resign in the wake of the sale.

Stockton bought the former Showboat casino from Caesars last year for use as a branch campus. But Trump Entertainment Resorts, which owns the nearby Trump Taj Mahal, said it would enforce a 1988 pact that said the Showboat could only be used as a casino. (There is also a deed restriction on the property that says it can’t be used as a casino; this will probably be hashed out in court now that the property will reportedly be sold to Bart Blatstein.)

The company said the reason for enforcing the deed restriction was because the college would attract underage gamblers who would attempt to gamble at the Taj. “[W]e believe that having a college located next door to the Taj will hurt our business and create numerous problems for us going forward,” Trump Entertainment Resorts said in a statement in March. “The scenario of young college students residing full time in a dormitory a few steps away from the Taj is entirely different from allowing families to dine in our restaurants.”

The report, however, says Trump Entertainment (which no longer has a connection with the GOP frontrunner other than the name) was willing to waive the deed restrictions — if Stockton would give them all its hotel rooms each summer. Read more »

Wheel of Fortune Seeking Contestants This Weekend in Atlantic City

Americas Game

If you ever wanted to spin the wheel, you might get a chance at a special event being held this Saturday and Sunday in Atlantic City.

The Wheel of Fortune “Wheelmobile” is having a weekend of auditions and fun at the Claridge Hotel in AC to honor the touring attraction’s 500th stop. The 36-foot, 13-foot high Winnebago travels the country “in search of good game players who are energetic, enthusiastic and fun and could get the chance to audition for the show.” Read more »

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