What better fit for a shuttered casino than to have it become part of a university? New Jersey’s Stockton University had its eyes set on the site of the former Atlantic Club Casino Hotel and the deal has now been approved by the public university’s board of trustees. However, the school won’t be looking for croupiers or beginning to offer gambling courses—it will more than likely build law and medical schools on the 20-acre property.
The NJ.com website reported on the board’s approval last Thursday. The shuttered casino is now owned by TJM Properties Inc., a property development company out of Florida and has 11 acres of beachfront real estate. It has been sitting empty since 2014, when Caesars Entertainment purchased the Atlantic Club.
TJM paid about $13.5 million for the real estate about four months after it shut down. It had initially planned to offer a water park and family entertainment center, but never got the idea off the ground.
The board unanimously approved the deal, contingent on TJM demolishing the building where the resort once stood. TJM will leave intact an adjacent nine-story parking garage, which the university has said it will use for residential and academic facilities.
Stockton has seen a significant increase in its enrollment over the past several year. Most recently, the upcoming fall semester will see 9,600 new enrollees and the university will open a new residential campus in Atlantic City sometime this month. That new campus is designed to further attract students from other states around the country.
Harvey Kesselman, president of Stockton, said that the university had discussed purchasing the resort for year with the idea of erecting law and medical schools on the site. He said, “One of the things that is difficult for urban institutions is many of them are landlocked. This is still, in my judgment, the most significant city in the state of New Jersey and it’s really important for the region and state that Atlantic City is successful. We are not the panacea for all ills but we are part of the solution.”
He further stated that it is not yet a done deal, but that that the board is putting together a final proposal. He said, “It’s not only what we want to do but it’s also how many students we want to recruit. We will do it in a strategic way. We are not rushed to do this.”