Atlantic City’s closed casinos — What to do about the eyesores?
The Atlantic City comeback continues to gain steam, although there have been a few bumps in the road.
As visitors flock to gaming halls, concerts and other attractions, casino revenue is up around $2 billion for the year, up more than 9 percent from this same time last year.
There is some concern, however, about closed casino properties that have become eyesores.
A total of five casinos closed their doors in recent years, and part of the covered entrance at one of them, the Atlantic Club, crumbled down onto the driveway at the end of September.
City officials say they are keeping an eye on the properties and insist the abandoned buildings do not pose a danger to people passing by.
“The abandoned buildings don’t provide great curb appeal, but it does provide some opportunity. I mean I think there are now some players, developers in the marketplace now, looking closely at these properties,” said Ken Calemmo, co-chairman of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee.
He said “any time you have casinos that are closed, I think it puts a question mark in the visitor, but I think the casinos that have remained open have really stepped up their game.”
Calemmo stressed the closed casinos do not pose a hazard to anybody, and the city building department has been very vigilant.
“They’re closely ensuring the safety of the public. They’ve been taking aggressive steps, not just on these buildings, but any kind of abandoned properties," Calemmo said.
He predicted the vacant casino properties won’t stay vacant for long.
“Within the next 18 months, we could see some significant announcements coming out about these properties opening, or being redeveloped or looked at, I think we’ve turned a corner finally, and the market is strengthening,” he said.
Calemmo added visitors should feel great about coming to Atlantic City for a visit.
“The casino floors are very active and energized. We’re not going anywhere. Atlantic City is strong and getting stronger,” he said. “We’ve got shows, attractions and there’s some great restaurants that continue to open. I’m down in a restaurant last night in Atlantic City, and it was wall to wall people, not a single empty chair.”
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.
More from New Jersey 101.5: