Saturday, September 19, 2015

Stockton: The Boardwalk university that never was

Former Showboat Casino on Atlantic City's Boardwalk (AP)

Painful lessons are taught at Stockton University's once-planned, casino-turned-college on Atlantic City's Boardwalk.

Philadelphia Inquirer
staff writers Jonathan Lai and Amy S. Rosenberg report that:
Stockton University's $22 million sale of the former Showboat casino in Atlantic City to developer Bart Blatstein will not make the university financially whole, its president said Friday.

Legal issues continue to trouble the property, and the sale proceeds will not cover the university's Showboat-linked costs, which will total millions more. Stockton paid $18 million to buy the property from Caesars Entertainment in December; a $26 million deal to resell it fell through.

School and local officials praised Friday's announcement, calling it a big step toward ending a months-long roller-coaster ride for the school.

"One of the things we absolutely wanted to do, in addition to recapturing as much of the cost as we could, was have a buyer who has a demonstrated committed to developing in Atlantic City, and Bart Blatstein meets that criterion," Harvey Kesselman, interim president of Stockton, said in an interview.

Blatstein's Tower Investments is scheduled to close on the property on Nov. 9. The university said earlier this week it had a buyer, but held off announcing Blatstein's name and details of the deal until Friday, after a due diligence period ended.

Reached by phone, Blatstein would not comment on his plans for the Showboat, but he called struggling Atlantic City "a sure bet."

Kesselman said he expected Blatstein to play a major role in the city's revitalization. Stockton, too, will play a role, he said, citing visions of building a residential campus elsewhere in the Shore town.

Stockton will first have to resolve ongoing legal battles, which Kesselman suggested could result in the university's recouping some of its money.

Since buying the property, Stockton has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars a month on operations, maintenance, security, and other costs.

Read the full story here

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