[toc]There will be quite a bit more to do in Atlantic City come this Memorial Day Weekend.
The Showboat is planning a new 150,000-square-foot area designed to capture the attention and tourism dollars of the millennial generation. The project will boast myriad indoor and outdoor activities and entertainment options.
According to the Press of Atlantic City, the new facility will be open on the weekends. It will include esports competitions, board games, video games, cosplay and anime, and educational seminars. The former House of Blues theater will be transformed into a 3,000-seat esports arena.
This is all according to a press release from Showboat and project partner Venturis Partners.
“Gamers and esports is the largest sport in the world,” said Showboat owner Bart Blatstein said in the statement. “It crosses all lines — male, female, all languages and backgrounds.”
In addition to the indoor activities, the project will also take advantage of Showboat’s location on the famed Boardwalk. The property will feature many outdoor activities, including a sandlot beer garden on the former site of Showboat’s volleyball court. The outdoor venue will host live music, movies, and family entertainment.
Derek Pew of Venturis Partners described the scope of the project, telling the Press of AC, “We wanted to create the most perfect shore experience we could — some place we would want to spend all our time and some place our children would want to spend all their time.”
The rebirth of the former Showboat casino
The Showboat was part of the Atlantic City casino purge of 2014. When parent company Caesars shuttered the property, it placed a deed restriction preventing future owners from reopening Showboat as a casino.
Unlike the other Atlantic City casino properties that closed their doors in 2014 — Revel, Trump Plaza, and Atlantic Club — there was a lot of interest in Showboat. The property didn’t stay on the market very long, although it did change hands several times.
Stockton College was the first up to bat; it planned to turn the former hotel and casino into a new campus. But after purchasing the property, Stockton discovered an earlier deed restriction between Showboat and the nearby Trump Taj Mahal would be enforced. This deed restriction prevented the use of the property as anything but a casino — and for some still-unexplained reason, Taj Mahal ownership refused to rip up the deed restriction.
Stockton College needed to offload the property. Luckily for the school, there were plenty of interested buyers. They included Revel (now TEN) owner Glenn Straub and Blatstein, a Philadelphia developer who has been purchasing parcels of AC property in recent years. This includes parcels next to Showboat and the Pier Shops near Caesars Atlantic City casino.
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