If successful, the bill would lift present and future deed restrictions and prohibit them from being placed on any casino, beachfront or publicly-owned building located within Atlantic City’s Tourism District. To date, the bill has not been acted on by the state Assembly.
Still turning a profit, the former Showboat was purchased in December 2014 for $18 million by Stockton University in hopes of turning it into a private hotel and satellite campus. However, a deed restriction placed on the property by owner Caesars Entertainment directly conflicts with a 1988 land covenant between Taj Mahal owner Trump Entertainment Resorts and the Showboat, that mandates the property only be used as a first-class casino and hotel. That legal covenant is being enforced by the building’s owner, Trump Entertainment Resorts. The neighboring Taj Mahal was fearful that underage students would be sneaking into the casino to drink and gamble, which would expose the venue to costly fines.
The deed restrictions doomed the original Stockton University sale and were the catalyst for Stockton’s president Herman Saatkamp’s April medical leave and eventual retirement announcement. Last week a separation agreement was approved by Stockton University with Saatkamp. In April, when Saatkamp began his medical leave, Stockton penned a new three-and-a-half year contract with Harvey Kesselman who took over the university presidency at that time. The university hopes that it will soon be able to announce plans for a satellite campus in Atlantic City on vacant land at is southern end where the former Atlantic City High School once was.
A deal was reached with Florida developer, and new owner of the Revel casino, Glenn Straub to purchase the property for $26 million, but that was also unsuccessful. Currently, Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein has a deal with Stockton to purchase the building by January 15 for $23 million.