Morning Headlines: Experts Consider Atlantic City’s Fate

Carl Dranoff mulls Revel as residence while at dinner.

Photo courtesy  Wikimedia Commons.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

The Inquirer has a lengthy report this morning speculating on Atlantic City’s fate come September, when as many as four Boardwalk properties may be vacant. Suzette Parmley talks to a variety of authorities and rubberneckers, and even nabs a quote from Carl Dranoff while he’s at dinner.

With the Atlantic Club having closed in January, Trump Plaza closing in September and Revel and Showboat in dire straits, Mayor Don Guardian tells Parmley that the city is considering using the old casinos for other purposes. Changes will need the go-ahead from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.

What would the other purposes be? Parmley found a few people with suggestions. One possible tenant would be Richard Stockton College, which has expressed interest in opening a campus in Atlantic City:

The changing landscape in A.C. makes it more important than ever to diversify the economic base in Atlantic City, as well as provide four-year degree and higher educational opportunities for the many employees being displaced,” Stockton president Herman Saatkamp said in a statement Wednesday. “A college campus complete with housing and surrounding businesses would be a significant asset to these needs.

With Revel’s bankruptcy auction slated for August 7 and a shut-down date of September 1 absent a buyer, some have suggested turning the luxury hotel into a residential building. But local developer Carl Dranoff (who is himself hardly hurting for business) preaches caution before moving ahead with that plan:

“It’s a very complicated question with a lot of complexities. One of them is the shape of the building. Many hotels adapt well for residential use because of the plumbing, the windows are in the right places, and the shapes of the building usually have double-loaded corridors, which are efficient for residential reuse.

“But one also has to consider the cost of reconstruction, which depends on whether the large public spaces [in the casinos] can be turned to productive use,” he said. “Then there’s market considerations pertaining to taxation, and the availability of incentives to buyers comparable to other locales.”

Parmley ends the piece with a reminder of one of the city’s most high-profile events–and this year’s timing:

In mid-September, Miss America rolls back into town. The famous “Show Us Your Shoes Parade” along the Boardwalk is set for Sept. 13 – two weeks after Showboat, and maybe Revel, close, and just three days before Trump Plaza shuts down.

Perhaps the pageant will be just the shot in the arm the city will need right then.

If 4 A.C. casinos close in September, then what? [The Inquirer]

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