Philadelphia-based developer Bart Blatstein is currently looking to build an indoor water park next to his Showboat hotel in Atlantic City, which he plans to finish by August 2020. Blatstein, whose Showboat hotel excludes gambling, has already filed his application for state tax credit to assist in financing this project.
Blatstein recently made the news when he sold his Playground pier complex to Caesars Entertainment’s subsidiary in January 2020. Five years prior, Blatstein purchased the same property from the casino giant. The sale price has yet to be disclosed publicly.
Blatstein said earlier this year that the sale was made to help him focus on getting gambling back onto his Showboat property. There is currently no indication as to whether Blatstein is still looking to get approval from the New Jersey gambling regulator.
Blatstein stated that the water park will target families as most of the activities in Atlantic City neglect the family and cater to the gamblers. Atlantic City generally appeals to adults who make the drive specifically to gamble. Few families take vacations today as gambling dominates the headlines. However, with his indoor water park, Blatstein hopes to create a new market and capitalize on his position as the originator.
Blatstein’s concept is not the first of its kind in Atlantic City. Investor Ronald Young also brought up the idea in 2017 as part of an investment group. They bought a casino property and planned to build a hotel catering to families, with an indoor water park attached to it. The project failed to take off after they got into financial troubles.
Sales Tax Rebate Key to Project
Blatstein is banking on the help of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), who will make the decision on whether to designate his site as an entertainment retail district or not.
If the CRDA chooses to designate Blatstein’s project as such, it would provide the property extra funds in the form of an annual rebate of as much as $2.5 million for the sales taxes brought by the property over a period of 20 years. Tax breaks can also be provided for all the materials used in the construction of the water park.
The sales tax rebate deal Blatstein is trying to get is popular among most establishments of Atlantic City. Some of the other notable recipients include The Quarter, anchored to the Tropicana Casino, The Walk, and the Hard Rock Casino.