Could Atlantic City become a major retail hub?
Could Atlantic City eventually become the retail outlet capital of the East Coast?
Even though the resort town already has several major retailers at the Tanger Outlet Mall zone known as The Walk, a number of new stores could open soon.
The new owner of the former Revel Casino in Atlantic City is planning to build a huge indoor water park on the property, along with retail stores and restaurants, while the former Atlantic Club facility could soon be turned into a retail zone, featuring an outdoor water park.
The owners of the Pier Shops at Caesar's are also proposing a "repurposing" of their property, and plans include many new retail stores along with clubs, restaurants and a Monkey Bar.
Atlantic City expert Roger Gros, the publisher of Global Gaming Business Magazine, believes adding more retail outlets is a good idea.
"There is a demand for that and I think by expanding it you can actually draw more people," he said.
At the same time, he cautioned developers must offer the right type of businesses to attract more customers.
"The high end shops don't really work in Atlantic City, so I think the outlet mall type of idea really works if you can have a different variety of them mixed in with some boutique retail," Gros said. "If you can combine that with great food and beverage outlets that we already have in Atlantic City and are adding every day, and also entertainment, that's really where the future of Atlantic City is going to be."
When asked if having two water parks would be too overwhelming for the city, Gros said similar plans have worked in places such as Wildwood.
"It could certainly work, just look down the coast at Wildwood, they have at least 2 water parks, Ocean City has one or two, so water parks are a draw. If you really want the city to be successful you have to be diversified in all of your attractions so I think what's happening in all of these areas is what Atlantic City needs at this point," he said.
Gros said bringing in other types of entertainment, or expanding on ones already in Atlantic City, like the aquarium, are also important.
"If you can come up with ideas like that, that will kind of change the perception of Atlantic City as being dangerous and dirty and that kind of thing that people seem to think it is now, even though that's far from the truth," he said. "I think Atlantic City can use these things to become a regional destination resort that just so happens to have some gaming with it."