Saturday August 18 2012 Pinnacle Entertainment property on Pacific Avenue, between MLK Boulevard and Indiana Avenue, Atlantic City. (The Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)

Ben Fogletto

Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. has plans to sell the former Sands casino property by the end of the year, the company said Wednesday.

But just who might be interested in the oceanfront property that's been vacant for five years remains unclear.

"The company is progressing toward an agreement to dispose of its land holdings in Atlantic City and expects to enter into a definitive agreement by year end," Las Vegas-based Pinnacle said in a written statement about the company's third-quarter results.

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Pinnacle representatives did not return calls Wednesday seeking details on the prospective buyer. Paige Steers, a spokeswoman for Jones Lang LaSalle, which is brokering the deal, said because the transaction had not closed, the company had no comment.

Commercial real estate agent Joshua Levin said he’s been trying to learn the identity of the buyer because he has clients who are interested in buying or leasing some of the outlying subsections that are part of the 20 acres Pinnacle is selling.

“I’m frothing at the mouth,” Levin said. “I’m dying to figure out who it is.”

Pinnacle had not been interested in selling off individual pieces, but the new buyer may, particularly because the property lends itself to being divided, Levin said.

“There’s about four to five different parcels that have nothing to do with the main parcel,” he said, referring to smaller parcels on Kentucky Avenue near the beach that have been packaged with the main site.

Levin said the main parcel overlooking the Boardwalk is among the largest in the city. The new owner is said to be unaffiliated with any casino, which is unusual in Atlantic City, he said.

“There’s not a lot of assembled pieces this large,” Levin said. “There are not many parcels that are noncasino.”

The large site between Indiana Avenue and Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard has been vacant since 2007 when the Sands was razed to make way for a promised megaresort that never materialized. The Atlantic City Alliance has planned to use the space for a temporary large-scale art installation with the intent of returning the space to its original state should a developer want to start construction. The installation is expected to be complete in November.

ACA spokesman Jeff Guaracino said the alliance has not been contacted about any imminent sale, but stressed that the art installations are intended to be temporary.

“The official language of the agreements for the site are loose, but a sale does not trigger returning the lots to their original state. It’s development that would trigger that,” he said. “We certainly don’t expect that’s going to happen tomorrow.”

Pinnacle also expects to garner $2.6 million from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority for the redemption of bond credits, according to Wednesday’s release.

CRDA spokeswoman Kim Butler said she could not immediately provide details regarding the bond credits, but noted that the authority supports Pinnacle’s plans.

“We would see that as a positive sign for potential new investment in Atlantic City and look forward to learning more about those prospects,” she said.

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