By Joshua Burd
Stockton University’s plan to purchase the former Atlantic Club Casino Hotel has fallen through, marking the latest setback for the Atlantic City property more than four years after it closed its doors.
Published reports Thursday said Stockton and the casino’s current owner, TJM Properties, had scrapped the deal after negotiations reached an impasse. Only about seven weeks earlier, the university and TJM announced a purchase agreement for the shuttered gaming hall and the surrounding property, pending a 60-day due diligence period, but TJM is now expected to field offers from other prospective buyers that have expressed interest.
Stockton, meantime, will consider its other options for continuing its expansion in Atlantic City. Just last week, the university marked the opening of a new 533-bed residential complex and 56,000-square-foot academic building just a few blocks away, in a project that is being hailed for its impact on the city’s Chelsea section.
“Stockton University negotiated a very good deal to purchase the property, but the university needed far more time then we were willing to provide to them without any assurances,” Terence McCarthy, president of TJM Properties, said in a statement published by media outlets Thursday. “Our organization feels that Stockton University will bring great economic development to Atlantic City, therefore offered them a deal unlike any other, which unfortunately did not and will not happen moving forward.”
It is the third time in less than three years that a deal for the Atlantic Club has fallen through. TJM acquired the 23-story property in May 2014 from an affiliate of Caesars Entertainment Corp., four months after the slumping casino closed its doors.
One potential buyer proposed turning the property into a water and entertainment park, but the deal fell through last year.
Stockton has also seen other setbacks in the city. The Galloway-based university acquired a then-shuttered Showboat casino from Caesars in late 2014, with plans to create a new satellite campus at the Boardwalk property. But the school ultimately sold the property to developer Bart Blatstein because of restrictions on whether it could be used as something other than a casino.
According to The Press of Atlantic City, Stockton President Harvey Kesselman and the school’s board of trustees determined earlier this week that the Atlantic Club plan would not go forward.
“We appreciate all the time and hard work that has gone into this effort, and are particularly grateful to TJM properties,” Kesselman said, according to the newspaper. “Rest assured, we remain committed to Atlantic City and expanding our presence there. This is our future, and we will continue to try to make the best investments we can there.”