The wheels are in motion to make real estate developer Tom Sherwood Sr.’s vision of a new hotel and water park in the Marina District a reality.
If all goes as planned, Atlantic City will have its most substantial non-gaming, built-from-the-ground-up and demographically diversified amenity in place by 2014.
Last month it was announced that real-estate developer Tom Sherwood Sr., principal of TWS Enterprises, Ltd., had the feasibility studies mapped out, the architectural team and planning/consulting professionals selected, and the permits pending to construct a 31-story, 183-room hotel adjoining an indoor, year-round water park at a vacant seven-acre tract he owns at Huron Avenue and Marina Boulevard in the Atlantic City Marina District. TWS Enterprises bought the land for $4.4 million in 2007 — roughly two years after purchasing the 55,000-square foot Club Tru complex across town and converting it into the Diving Horse Cabaret and Steakhouse following a yearlong, extensive renovation.
“This multi-generational resort will attract entire families to visit Atlantic City to enjoy the water park and the other amenities like gaming, entertainment, shopping, the beaches, Boardwalk and dining,” says Sherwood. “Our hope is that these families will take extended stays utilizing our facility along with the other hotels and casinos. Atlantic City is currently an environment primarily for adults, but it should also be for children, teenagers, parents and grandparents.”
Located across Huron Avenue from the Borgata, the property is zoned outside the newly created Tourism District, meaning that the city of Atlantic City — not the state-run Casino Reinvestment Development Authority — will be in charge of the project approval process. If approved, the development would be called the Diving Horse Resort and Water Park, and is being touted as the gateway to the Marina District. At a recent press conference, Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford voiced his approval of the project.
“This is just the type of project Atlantic City needs to attract families to our community,” says the mayor. “It is my understanding that this project will generate 400 full- and part-time jobs. Creating these employment opportunities for city and area residents would be an asset.
“This goes a long way in helping to re-define who we are. It speaks to the need to reestablish the city of Atlantic City as a family destination. It’s another family attraction that can give people a reason to come to Atlantic City beyond the gambling experience.”
The total estimated cost of the project is over $100 million. The hotel would be designed like a sailboat (made to resemble a smaller version of the Burj Al Arab, a luxury resort in Dubai that boasts the largest water slide outside of North America. The Diving Horse Resort and Water Park would be about one-third as tall at 350 feet). The new water park would encompass five acres and 400 million gallons of water. About 45,000 square feet of the park would be indoors under a retractable roof, with the other components located outside and only open seasonally. Project officials hope to break ground in 2013 and have it completed some time in 2014.
“The number-one rule of economic development is to make sure the community wants your project — don’t go where they don’t want you,” says project coordinator Tim Behr. “You want to go where they support your projects, so showing it to the mayor and city council was critical to whether or not we were going to locate here, and the mayor gave us an endorsement to move forward.”
Another element working in the project’s favor is that Sherwood owns the land outright, indicating to prospective financers a genuine vested interest.
“Tom owns that property free and clear, outright, no mortgages, no liens,” says Behr. “A lot of projects go awry when you don’t have control of the site, and the second place where they go awry is when you don’t have the support of the community. Then you’re just butting your head against the wall.”
In what they hope will be a sweetheart deal announced on Valentine Day yesterday, Tilman J. Fertitta, Chairman, President, CEO and owner of Landry’s, Inc., parent company to the Golden Nugget Las Vegas and Laughlin, announced that Landry’s has agreed to buy the Trump Marina Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City.
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Aside from the plethora of classic-rock bands booked at the casinos and around the region, love will be in the air this summer whether you’re out partying at one of Atlantic City’s world-class night spots, dining at a favorite shore nook, or soaking up the sounds of the ocean on a family beach day...
Summer is finally upon us and I know we’re excited to get some sun and have some fun. But these days, it’s not always easy due to financial woes and time constraints. Well, I’m here to tell you that we have some of the best sights, beaches, events, and happenings right in the Atlantic City area and guess what? Some are even free! First of all, what would summer be without going to the beach? In case you didn’t know, Atlantic City beaches are free. How cool is that? No hassling with going and getting badges or having the agenda of trying to hide from the beach patrol. Depending on where you park, you will probably have to pay, but it will definitely be worth your trip with the casinos, Boardwalk and other Atlantic City attractions nearby. Especially if you plan...
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