Monday, December 15, 2014

Stockton College Acquires Showboat for $18M

by John Jordan
The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey has purchased the former casino Showboat Atlantic City here for $18 million.

The deal, which closed on Dec. 12, begins the property’s “transformation into an island campus designed to spur economic and community development and help prepare Atlantic City’s workforce for the jobs of the future,” the college stated in its press announcement released on Friday.

“Stockton is committed to southern New Jersey’s continued social and economic development,” says college president Herman Saatkamp. “Our roots officially began at the former Mayflower Hotel in Atlantic City, and as our campus has expanded, so has our mission to provide higher education, research and community partnerships that enhance the region and state."

Stockton purchased the 1.73 million-square-foot property from Caesars Entertainment with funds from the college’s Investment Fund. No state-appropriated funds were used in the purchase and no new debt was issued.

"Stockton's acquisition of the Showboat exemplifies the efforts of the governor and legislative leadership to bolster Atlantic City's non-gaming offerings. The diversification of activities available in AC stands to benefit all of the city's stakeholders," says Gary Loveman, chairman and CEO of Caesars Entertainment.

The transition from a casino-hotel to a college campus and hotel will take far less time in terms of design, approvals and renovation than would new construction, benefiting Atlantic City and Stockton, president Saatkamp noted.

The property, which sits on more than 26 acres on the Boardwalk, will likely continue to operate as a hotel, with 479 rooms in Tower 1 available for guests, along with retail and restaurant amenities.

The former gaming floor will be used for academic, administrative and community purposes. This would include approximately 20 mixed-use classrooms, 10 lecture facilities, music, dance and choral instruction rooms, an experimental theatre and dance studio. The plans include community access to conference spaces, meeting rooms and workforce development areas.

The hotel operation may be operated by Dolce Hotels and Resorts, which operates Stockton Seaview and another 22 properties throughout North America and Europe, the college stated.

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