Shuttered and stark, it is the “Showhouse at the Shore” no more.
The sprawling home has become an eyesore, blighting one of Atlantic City’s main entryways, the intersection of North Carolina Avenue and Route 30.
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, the state agency that built the house in 2001 and sold it in 2005, did not say whether there are any government plans to try to rescue the property.
“The investor made attempts to subdivide it and was going to develop the land, but that did not come to fruition,” Kim Butler, a CRDA spokeswoman, said of the private owner.
Now abandoned, the house at 602 North Carolina Ave. serves as a makeshift dump — plastic milk jugs, beer cans, whiskey bottles, paper wrappers, old clothes, a brown baseball cap and a bicycle tire are just some of the things that have piled up in the yard.
Even the old mailbox litters the property, lying on its side near the front steps.
Windows and doors are boarded up. An ugly chainlink fence surrounds the house to keep out intruders, but vandals appear to have gotten there first.
Eleven years ago, the home was the featured “Showhouse at the Shore” when it served as the host site for a fundraiser for the Ruth Newman Shapiro Cancer and Heart Fund. Later, it became Gilda’s Club of South Jersey, a place where people with cancer and their families could gather for education and support.
Adria Light, program manager for Gilda’s Club, now located in Linwood, recalled there were problems even when the house was occupied by Gilda’s Club.
“The house was vandalized. The staff felt unsafe. For that reason, the decision was made to leave Atlantic City,” Light said. “It was really difficult to do.”
The CRDA, which oversees Atlantic City’s Tourism District, sold the house at auction in 2005 for $603,000 to Hung Pham of Ventnor. Pham could not be reached for comment last week. Ownership of the house is currently listed under a corporate name called 602 N. North Carolina Avenue Inc., according to the city Tax Assessor’s Office.
Butler did not respond to questions whether the CRDA or any other government agency plans to pressure the owner to clean it up. Built in 2001 by the CRDA, the home had served as an anchor for new housing along the redeveloped North Carolina Avenue corridor, just off the Route 30 entryway.
Suleyah Davis, 19, who lives on nearby Magellan Avenue, has a vague memory of attending a Halloween Party in the former showhouse when she was a young girl.
“It was a beautiful house then. Now, it’s sad,” Davis said while looking at the blighted property. “It has become a mess. It’s just abandoned now.”
Across the street is a large, decorative sign pointing the way to Resorts Casino Hotel. The North Carolina Avenue corridor is the entryway to Resorts. Courtney Birmingham, a Resorts spokeswoman, declined to comment about the run-down home.
Even in its badly deteriorated condition, there are glimpses of the house’s former glory. The windows and exterior are dotted with architectural flourishes, although the decorative woodwork has begun to rot. The soaring, red-brick chimney still appears stately. A gazebo, now vandalized, had given the backyard a quaint touch.
Someone left a trash can in the yard, but it is overflowing with paper, cans and bottles. The chainlink fence surrounding the property has trapped even more trash. Perhaps most telling about the home’s abandoned appearance are the wild vines creeping up the exterior.
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