Developer plans to convert former Atlantic City, NJ casino into water park, resort

Dive Brief:

  • A New Jersey developer said his company plans to spend $135 million to convert a New Jersey casino into a resort with an indoor water park, according to the Associated Press.
  • R&R Development Group purchased the defunct Atlantic Club casino and plans to reintroduce it as a non-gambling family destination with 300 hotel rooms scheduled to open at the end of this year.
  • Even if R&R wanted to rebrand the property as another casino, the Atlantic Club is one of numerous deed-restricted properties in Atlantic City that cannot be turned into new casinos for specified periods of time.

Dive Insight:

The Atlantic Club casino redevelopment would mark the third conversion of a currently shuttered casino facility into a new venue, including the transformation of the former Trump Taj Mahal into a Hard Rock International property.

Coincidentally, the Atlantic Club was a former Steve Wynn casino, called the Golden Nugget. Wynn's company is currently underway with a $2.4 billion mega-casino project in Everett, MA. Plans were delayed for about a year after lawsuits on a few fronts postponed the start of construction.

Both the cities of Boston and Somerville, MA, protested the Massachusetts Gaming Commission's decision to give Wynn the only available gaming licensing over another proposed casino project. Somerville also fought the project based on environmental considerations, such as increased traffic and air pollution, despite the promise of 4,000 temporary construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs once the project is complete.

Toward the other side of the country, construction on the $4 billion Resorts World Casino reportedly is finally getting underway in Las Vegas after a ceremonial groundbreaking in 2015 and the announcement of big plans in 2016. Unlike the Wynn project in Massachusetts but similar to the proposed Atlantic City venue, the 7,000-room development could feature an indoor water park. Developer Genting said the resort might also add an aquarium, panda exhibit and a replica of the Great Wall of China.

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