Philly developer buying shops in A.C. for a fraction of building costs

Listen
Bart Blatstein makes a pitch to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for Philadelphia's second casino license during a public hearing in January. (AP Photo File/Matt Rourke)

Bart Blatstein makes a pitch to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for Philadelphia's second casino license during a public hearing in January. (AP Photo File/Matt Rourke)

A Philadelphia developer says he’s ready to take a gamble on a major Atlantic City property, but it is not a casino.

Bart Blatstein is competing for a casino license in Philadelphia, but says his purchase of the Pier Shops at Caesars in Atlantic City will not include a slot machine or a table game.

“I’ve been to that pier many times over the years but I never really knew it until I got interested in buying it. There’s nothing like it on the East Coast,” Blatstein said. “It juts out into the water 900 feet, and it’s 300,000 square feet on three levels. The place is incredible, it just hasn’t had the management and ideas to make it the best it can be.”

Blatstein says the pier is at the “50 yard line” of Atlantic City’s boardwalk and is ready for a reinvention.

“It’s a straight shot from the Atlantic City Expressway, so it’s wonderfully positioned for a repositioning,” he said. “It’s going to be a makeover and it will be fun for all as they say.”

Blatstein would not confirm the purchase price, but sources close to negotiations say the facility which cost $200 million to build is being sold for $2.8 million. Blatstein says he will announce his plans for this diamond in the rough before Thanksgiving.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.