Putting On A Show: Resurrected Showboat Experiencing Success Sans Casino

Posted on August 10, 2016 - Last Updated on August 9, 2016

[toc]Two years ago, Atlantic City was in a dark place.

The Showboat and three other casinos — Revel, Trump Plaza and The Atlantic Club — closed their doors in 2014, punctuating a difficult economic seasons the city is still trying to pull itself out of.

Yet while the three of those casinos’ once-vibrant doors remain closed, the Showboat came back to life in early July as a hotel, ditching the casino side of operations.

The Showboat nearly became a college campus

There rarely is a real estate opportunity in Atlantic City that isn’t contested by several investors. The Showboat was no different over the past two years. The oddest development proposal/purchase, perhaps, came from Stockton University, which bought the property with the intention of converting it into a satellite campus.

However, the deal came under fire post-purchase when it came to light that a clause in the building’s original contract that stated the property could not be used for anything other than a hotel/casino.

A university probe into the deal uncovered a tantalizing truth: Herman Saatkamp, the former president of the university, knew about the clause before he closed on the property.

Here’s an excerpt from that report:

“Ultimately, the ill-fated purchase of the Showboat by Stockton, and the ensuing developments, were the result of a confluence of facts, risks and personalities that culminated in a transaction that, with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, was certainly unwise.”

Blatstein buys Showboat from Stockton University

This past January, Tower Investments CEO Bart Blatstein closed on the Atlantic City property, ending the 18-month saga that was the death and revival of the Showboat. The final purchase price came in at $23 million, about $5 million more than what Stockton paid for the property.

By June, the hotel was in search of a new workforce. According to the Press of Atlantic City, 3,000 people showed up for a June 8 job fair offering 200 jobs. The line for prospective employees snaked away from the building and down Pacific Ave.

Both business owners in the area and job seekers were impressed with the turnout.

Reviews positive after July 8 opening

Blatstein gushed about the hotel when he spoke with Lehigh Valley Live Reporter Lori M. Nichols.

“Business is great,” Blatstein said. “It is the best non-casino and no smoking property in Atlantic City. It’s also a great location with beautiful rooms and amazing views.”

The Showboat is the city’s only non-gaming hotel. It boasts 852 rooms, including 65 suites, along with three restaurants.

Guests of the hotel had positive things to say about the “new” hotel.

One long-time fan of the property, A.C. resident Bea Hunt, told the Press of Atlantic City she loved the old New Jersey casino and was thrilled to see the Showboat back to its former glory.

““This was always my favorite,” Hunt was quoted as saying. “I was upset when it originally closed and I couldn’t be happier that it’s reopened. It shows that people still want to come to Atlantic City.”

Image credit: gary718 / Shutterstock.com

J.R. Duren Avatar
Written by
J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has been awarded the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism prize three times. A freelance writer and author covering the legal NJ online gambling industry, J.R.’s work has appeared in numerous publications, among them Barcelona Metropolitan, Snooth, the Villages Daily Sun, Our Amazing Norway, and Bespoke Post.

View all posts by J.R. Duren
Privacy Policy