Stockton University’s board of trustees have approved entering into negotiations to buy the former Atlantic Club casino on Atlantic City’s Boardwalk.
The school is making the move to complement a new city campus it is opening just a few blocks from the casino site. The negotiations would include the site’s current owners demolishing the hotel tower on the site.
The board’s action allows Stockton President Harvey Kesselman to negotiate the sale with Florida-based company TJM, which now owns the site. A sale price will be revealed after closing, Kesselman said.
“We are exploring, obviously, all possibilities in Atlantic City with the hope to expand the campus there,” Kesselman told the Press of Atlantic City after the vote.
The Atlantic Club Casino closed in 2014 and was eventually sold to TJM for $13.5 million from an affiliate of Caesars Entertainment Corp. TJM has announced various plans for the site since then—including turning it into a water park—but none have moved forward.
Kesselman said the school wants the property for expansion and is not considering any type of casino use for it. The Atlantic Club site is two blocks from the new Stockton University Atlantic City campus, which will include an academic building and a beachfront residential building.
“We’ve been discussing the possibility for several years now,” Kesselman said of the purchase.
Kesselman said the new Atlantic City campus has drawn great interest from students and its residential facilities were already at about 100 percent capacity. About 1,200 unique students have also enrolled for classes at the site.
According to the Press, the Atlantic Club property Includes 11 upland lots, one beach lot, a nine-level parking garage containing 550,000 square feet for parking, about 50,000 square feet of office space and a 23-story hotel tower. The Atlantic Club was formerly the Golden Nugget under control of Steve Wynn and was one of the first casinos to open in the resort.
No timeline for the purchase was given.
In 2015, the university purchased the then-closed Showboat Atlantic City casino for $18 million but could not open the property due to deed restrictions. The college sold the building for $23 million in 2016 to Bart Blatstein, who opened it in 2016 as a non-casino resort.
The purchase also comes after the school announced the sale of its Seaview Resort property in Galloway Township for $21 million. Kesselman said the sale of that property freed up the funds needed for this purchase, the Press reported.