The Showboat Hotel, photo Aaron Houston, njbiz.com
The glory days of Atlantic City are long gone, following a devastating hurricane and economic downfall that struck New Jersey a few years ago. A third of the region’s casinos were forced to shudder their doors. But today, the former Showboat Casino Hotel has reopened… minus the casino.
Two years ago, 4 of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos suffered complete financial collapse. The famous Showboat Casino that had been a staple of the Garden State’s casino district since it opened on March 30, 1987, was one of them, along with The Atlantic Club, Revel and Trump Plaza.
The doors were finally locked on August 31, 2014 by then-owner Caesars Entertainment – a world-famous gambling corporation that was already suffering from insidious debt across many of its global operations – called it quits. Now, nearly two years later, the doors are open once more, but not quite the way the old casino’s first buyers had intended.
University Buys Showboat Casino
You see, in December 2014, Caesars sold the property to Stockholm University for $18 million. The plan was to renovate the Showboat Casino into a dormitory for college students. In fact, there was a clause in the purchase contract that stated the new owners could not operate a casino on the premises. That was fine with Stockton, but that same clause came back to by the University in the proverbial butt.
As it turned out, Showboat Casino’s neighbors at Trump Taj Mahal had already entered into a binding agreement with Caesars prior to the sale, stipulating that the property must still operate a casino if Caesars sells it. The owners of Trump Taj Mahal evoked that agreement, forcing Stockton University to rethink the plan.
Stockton Dumps Showboat for $23M
That resulted in another sale of the old Showboat Atlantic City to a real estate mogul in Philadelphia by the name of Bart Blatstein, CEO of Tower Investments, who acquired the property for $23 million in January of this year. He’s been working to renovate the property ever since, and his plans were finally unveiled on Thursday when he announced the Showboat Hotel would officially reopen today, Friday, July 8, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Showboat Atlantic City is Back
Blatstein told the Press of Atlantic City the Showboat Hotel is now the “largest non-casino hotel in New Jersey”, boasting 852 guest rooms and suites. The first guests to grace the property in nearly two years began arriving at this afternoon, following the launch of online reservations earlier this week.
While there’s no casino games – slot machines, blackjack, roulette, keno, etc. – to be enjoyed on the property by guests of the Showboat Hotel anymore, there are other affable features worth noting.
Visitors can sip on a chilly beverage at the Worship Surf Bar on the States Avenue side, enjoy a wide variety of caffeinated coffees and lattes at the Canal Street Coffeehouse, or consume a tasty lunch or dinner at the hotel’s Atlantic City Eatery.