I’ve always loved the type of story that gets my blood pumping. It catches your eye, makes you drop what you’re doing and gets you excited to think about breaking the news to your readers.
Those stories are not so common in commercial real estate — it’s just the nature of the business — but in early March we had one that was nothing short of a blockbuster: Carl Icahn had agreed to sell the Trump Taj Mahal, and it was the names of the buyers that I found truly compelling. Along with Hard Rock International, which has long sought to make an entrance to Atlantic City, the partners in the deal were Jack Morris and Joe Jingoli.
The fact that two of New Jersey’s most successful, well-known and well-connected real estate families — ostensibly with nothing to prove — were joining the fray in Atlantic City was significant. For anyone who had given up on the struggling resort town, perhaps it was time to take a second look and reconsider whether savvy investors see upside in the city.
It turns out there’s a growing list of key businesspeople who see that opportunity. In this month’s cover story, we feature developers and experts who believe that the upside in Atlantic City is greater than ever before, following a painful, precipitous decline for the casino industry and the loss of thousands of jobs. According to Bart Blatstein, the Philadelphia developer who knows something about reviving distressed neighborhoods, “the upside in Atlantic City is like nowhere else I’ve seen in my 40-year career.”
As you’ll find out, it’s not just about bargain prices for land. The Gateway project, the city’s most significant nongaming development to date, is under construction and will create a new Stockton University campus and corporate headquarters for South Jersey Industries. And the fact that the resort has attracted local developers like Morris and Jingoli, who have personal ties to the state — and a credible operator like Hard Rock — should be a signal to other investors.
As we head into the summer, we also take the opportunity to check in with another historic Jersey Shore community. An effort to revitalize Long Branch is finally bearing fruit after more than 20 years. As developers and local officials tell us, projects that are revitalizing the city’s oceanfront are now giving way to investment in the downtown.
You can find those stories and more in the May issue of Real Estate NJ, including a look inside Cushman & Wakefield’s new state-of-the-art office space in East Rutherford. And this month’s Personalities section features a Q&A with Brian Hosey, who left a career as a music industry talent agent to become a commercial real estate broker. These days, he is the regional manager for Marcus & Millichap’s growing northern New Jersey office.
We hope you enjoy this edition of Real Estate NJ as you get ready for the unofficial start to summer. You’ll find these stories and all of our day-to-day coverage on www.RE-NJ.com, which continues to grow as a source for commercial real estate news in New Jersey. As always, thanks for your feedback, news and story ideas. And most importantly, thanks for reading!