Atlantic City is putting its former airport property up for auction in an effort to address its massive debt burden eight years after a gamble with the land backfired.
The Atlantic City Council added Bader Field to a list of properties to be auctioned off on June 17 and set a minimum bid of $155 million for the 143-acre property. Proceeds from the sale will go toward paying down some of the city's more than $400 million in debt outstanding. Penn National Gaming offered $800 million for the land in 2008, but the city declined, hoping to receive better offers that never materialized.
Atlantic City is looking to obtain proceeds from Bader Field as the Jersey Shore gambling hub draws closer to running out of cash flow. A March 9 Moody's Investors Service report said Atlantic City could default as soon as April if recovery bills are not approved by the state. The city suffered four casino closures in 2014 and is facing an estimated $102 million deficit for 2016, according to Moody's.
Bader Field opened in 1910 and was considered the nation's first municipal airport. The airport stopped commercial airline service in 1990 and was permanently closed in 2006. A portion of the airport's property was used to build a minor league baseball stadium for the Atlantic City Surf, which discontinued operations in 2009.