ATLANTIC CITY — From cracked light bulbs at the closed Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino to ripped awnings at the closed Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, defunct casinos can be found up and down the Boardwalk after five shut down in the past several years.
Some properties — such as the former Trump Taj Mahal, which will become the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City next summer, and Revel, which could be sold in the coming weeks — are expected to reopen at some point. Others, such as the Atlantic Club and Trump Plaza, face an uncertain future and have fallen into disrepair.
On Sept. 27, a portion of the ceiling of the covered entrance at Atlantic Club collapsed onto the closed casino’s driveway. No one was hurt, but the incident raised concerns about the conditions of these properties. While city officials do their best to make sure the buildings are safe, lack of access to the properties is a challenge.
Dale Finch, director of licensing and inspection for the city, said they check the properties as often as they can, but sometimes that is not enough.
“We continually monitor the properties, but the hard part is that we don’t go into the buildings and don’t have access to them,” said Finch. “If we see something, we call the property manager for the property and let them know.”
Mayor Don Guardian said the city and fire department are working to ensure there are no safety issues with the building.
“They do fire inspections on a regular basis and found all of them completely safe,” Guardian said. “There are no structural issues at any of the properties.”
Guardian added Revel is in the best condition of the closed properties because it was built less than a decade ago. Earlier this month, representatives Keating & Associates, a New York-based private investment firm interested in purchasing the property, praised its condition.
“It (Revel) looks like it closed a couple of weeks ago,” Guardian said.
Some have said the closed properties have given the city a black eye and contributed to the perception the city is failing.
The biggest issue is that they are vacant and anything can happen,” Finch said. “It’s a concern that they are vacant — hopefully something will happen with them soon.”
The properties and their conditions could present a deal for some investors, said Ken Calemmo, chief operating officer of Cooper Levenson and co-chair of the Economic Development Committee of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber.
“Vacant properties of that size are always both a challenge and an opportunity — a challenge because of their lack of curb appeal to the city, and great investment opportunities for the right group,” Calemmo said. “Both the Atlantic Club and the Plaza have great locations and I am sure can be gotten for a reasonable price.”