Christmas came a few days late for Showboat Hotel Atlantic City owner Bart Blatstein.
The Philadelphia-based developer received a big zoning gift on Tuesday that justifies their suggestion Indoor water park project to a 20-year tax break.
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority Blatstein’s application to designate an entertainment business district for a 100,000-square-foot water park, family entertainment center, and full renovation of the Showboat’s premier light tower was approved.
An AC water park project started for years and never came to fruition. But the tax break can finally break the traffic jam.
Breakdown of the ERD name
The ERD designation entitles the project to an annual sales tax refund of up to $ 2.5 million for two decades. The CRDA can also receive up to $ 2.5 million per year, but only after receiving the developer’s full share.
State law allows the CRDA to approve 11 entertainment retail districts, each of which must be at least 150,000 square feet of entertainment, retail, dining, non-casino hotel or residential unit space. Showboat Water Park Approval is the ninth designation issued by the state agency. Others include Tanger Outlets The Way and The neighborhood in Tropicana Atlantic City.
The law also provides that the project can be awarded an annual grant based on the additional luxury tax levied in the luxury retail district. City luxury tax is included in (but not limited to) sales of alcoholic beverages, hotel rooms and tickets.
Blatstein was recently given permission to run a beach bar in front of his hotel Avenues of New Jersey and Delaware.
The water attraction is built on a vacant beach block between Showboat and Ocean Casino Resort. It has an estimated price of more than $ 90 millionAccording to CRDA officials.
The groundbreaking is planned for 2021.
Families are welcome in Atlantic City
“This project aims to diversify Atlantic City’s economy and also improve opportunities for families to come to Atlantic City for great experiences right on the boardwalk,” said the CRDA executive director Matt Doherty.
Blatstein – who owns that too Garden pier across from Ocean and operated the Playground pier through earlier this year – said the goal of the water park was to bring more families to Atlantic City by offering non-casino gaming options.
“Atlantic City’s brightest days are just around the corner,” said Blatstein on Tuesday. “I read the press sometimes and scratch my head until I get a bald spot. I don’t think they understand Atlantic City’s potential. “
Play on the show boat?
The Showboat closed as a casino in 2014, one of four Atlantic City gambling studios that closed that year. Blatstein bought the 1.4 million square foot Showboat in January 2016 for $ 23 million. In July of this year, Blatstein reopened the closed casino as a non-gaming hotel.
Since then, the former Trump Taj Mahal has closed in late 2016 before reopening as the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City in 2018. The former Revel Casino Hotel reopened as the Ocean Casino Resort in 2018.
There are now Nine casinos in Atlantic City.
Blatstein took small steps to bring gaming back to Showboat. The State Casino Control Commission In March he received a declaration of conformity with which he could apply for a casino license.
He also pioneered the idea of building an adjoining play facility next to the showboat to circumvent a restriction on the act that forbids gambling on that particular piece of land. This scenario now seems unlikely as the vacant lot is part of the water park project.
“Field of Dreams” on the Atlantic City Boardwalk
Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. said the proposed water park was “really a game changer.”
“This takes us to the next level. This will give us a much needed family entertainment attraction, ”he said. Then he invoked the cliché: “If we build it, they will come”.
Water parks were a slippery affair in AC
An Atlantic City water park is hardly a new concept.
In 2017, a development group wanted to convert part of the former Atlantic Club Casino Hotel to an indoor water park. The project did not progress and the property was sold less than two years later.
A few years earlier, another group suggested a water park in the Marina District that never happened.
“We will not disappoint,” Blatstein told the CRDA board of directors. “We’re going to add a new dimension to Atlantic City that helps others spend money because it’s a great place.”