Surf's Up: The city's revitalization plan calls for less reliance on gaming in favor of returning to its historic family-friendly resort and entertainment destination.
ATLANTIC CITY- Considering the Northeast has been in the grip of record-breaking snow storms combined with single-digit temperatures and wind chills that make it feel more like the Artic, I know many of us are dreaming about sun, surf and sandy beaches rather than snow, sleet and slushy roads. Speaking of sandy beaches, mark your calendar to attend the LCT Leadership summit in Miami, May 17-18, and also LCT NLA East in Atlantic City, Nov. 8-10 at our new venue, Harrah’s and its adjacent brand new conference/convention center.
Here’s an update on AC. Following the closing of four casinos last year, things are looking up as the eight remaining casinos posted a 19 % increase in winnings In January over the same period last year. No question online gaming has helped spur revenue and is gaining traction since it was allowed in 2013. Of course the city faces challenging times ahead before it starts to see serious revitalization. However, the seeds are beginning to be planted to spur the rebirth of the city—less dependent on gaming in favor of an emphasis on its historic roots as a vacation destination.
Here are some recent initiatives that bode well for the city’s turnaround.
Convention Business: A new aggressive company, Global Spectrum, has taken over the reins of the Convention Center and Boardwalk Hall and already has posted increases in convention related rooms booked and concert business in 2014. In cooperation with veteran concert management company, Live Nation, numerous top entertainment acts were book last year that generated more than $14 million in ticket sales. In fact, future convention hotel bookings are up 58 percent through 2019.
Rock ‘n’ Roll: The mega Hard Rock entertainment, hotel and casino conglormorate is ready to rock Atlantic City. The company received approval from the New Jersey Casino Commission in January to own a casino in the city, and rumor has it that it may be interested in the shuttered Revel. The sale of the $2 billion Revel, which closed last year, is currently in s state of flux right now as one buyer is sparring with bankruptcy court over terms. If that deal falls through, Hard Rock may grab the state-of-the-art hotel casino.
Brotherly Love: Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein, who has made a name for himself revitalizing shaky neighborhoods with successful housing and commercial projects, sees Atlantic City as his next venture. Last year Blatstein and a partner purchased the Pier at Caesars—a fledging shopping center that stretches out over the ocean— for $2.7 million with big plans to revitalize the Boardwalk landmark. In addition, Blatstein said he is tinkering with several more AC projects that he will soon announce.
Considering that the temperature today is 15 degrees in New Jersey, thinking about the beaches in Miami and Atlantic City is good for the soul right now.
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