Attempts to sell oceanfront land where the old Sands Casino Hotel once stood have been delayed again, the Las Vegas-based owner said Wednesday in an earnings report.

Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. announced earlier it had reached a "definitive agreement" to sell the nearly 20-acre site to an undisclosed buyer for $30.6 million. The Press of Atlantic City has reported the would-be buyer is New Jersey real estate investor Mitchell Mekles, of Mitchell Enterprises in Fort Lee, Bergen County.

Pinnacle first said it hoped to complete the deal by the end of 2012, then pushed back the date to the first quarter of 2013. On Wednesday, it reported the deal has been amended and would not be completed until the end of the third quarter.

"In the 2013 first quarter, the company entered into an amended definitive agreement to dispose of its land holdings in Atlantic City for total consideration of approximately $30.6 million. The transaction is subject to a financing contingency. The transaction is now expected to close by the end of the 2013 third quarter," Pinnacle said in a statement that accompanied its first-quarter earnings report.

The company had no other comment beyond the statement.

Mekles has been unavailable for comment on the deal, although city and state officials have confirmed they have held preliminary talks with him on the possible redevelopment of the site.

Pinnacle's land, overlooking the center of the Boardwalk, is the former site of the old Sands casino. Pinnacle bought the Sands in 2006 for $270 million and imploded it the following year to make room for development of a proposed Las Vegas-style casino resort. However, the casino project died amid the recession and global credit crisis.

Most of the site consists of the old Sands property, a supersized block bordered by Indiana Avenue, Pacific Avenue, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and the Boardwalk. There are other smaller, outlying parcels, mainly along the beach block of Kentucky Avenue.

Last year, the property was transformed into a public art display featuring sculpture work, a faux pirate ship and inspirational messages amid a park-like setting. The Atlantic City Alliance, a casino-funded marketing coalition that helped finance the art work, has emphasized the display is only temporary. It will be removed when the land is ready for redevelopment.

Contact Donald Wittkowski:

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