New Jersey's Stockton University has reached an agreement to sell the former Showboat Casino Hotel in Atlantic City for $22 million to a Philadelphia-based developer.
Stockton announced on Sept. 18 that Tower Investments led by CEO Bart Blatstein is expected to close on the property that the public college bought for $18 million last December in hopes of opening a satellite campus. The school in Galloway Township then encountered legal challenges with land-use restrictions placed on the 1.73 million-square foot building, which prevented it from finalizing a deal to sell the parcel to Florida developer Glenn Straub for $26 million.
"Stockton is pleased to have worked out an agreement of sale with Bart Blatstein, a developer known for successful community partnerships in Atlantic City and Philadelphia," said Interim President Harvey Kesselman in a statement. "We were seeking a purchaser who demonstrated a commitment to Atlantic City when others were unwilling."
The official closing is expected to occur around Nov. 9, according to Stockton. Moody's Investors Service downgraded the college's credit rating to A3 from A2 in May due in part to uncertainty regarding the purchase of the Showboat property. The Showboat was one of four casinos in Atlantic City that closed in 2014.
The agreement with Blatstein allows Stockton to utilize some of the property's entertainment venues for performances. The Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway Township would also work with Blatstein's hotel operation to accommodate guests when there is overflow demand, according to university officials. Blatstein has developed and operates shopping, dining and entertainment complex on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City called "The Playground."
"The agreement allows the university and Mr. Blatstein to continue working together in ways that will benefit Stockton and contribute to Atlantic City's renaissance," said Kesselman. "We will always focus on the best interests of our students as we expand the facilities on our Galloway campus and continue to explore opportunities for future growth in Atlantic City."