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February 17, 2015

Blatstein to unveil 'dramatic redevelopment plans' for Atlantic City shops

Can the notable Philly-based developer save the ailing city?

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The Pier Shops At Ceasars Mel Evans/AP

In this June 27, 2006 file photograph, early shoppers visit The Pier Shops at Caesars in Atlantic City, N.J.

Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein and business partner Paul Steelman will unveil their dramatic plans for the Pier Shops at Caesars in Atlantic City at a press conference next Tuesday.

Blatstein, who has been called ‘the most creative developer (Philadelphia) has seen in a generation’ and has arguably earned it with his bevy of dramatic and innovative redevelopment projects in both Philly and Atlantic City - including the notable Piazza at Schmidt's in Northern Liberties - purchased the shops last fall with Steelman, a notable Las Vegas architect.

In what has become a common storyline for Atlantic City, the shops had been suffering from financial doom when Blatstein and Steelman swooped in to save them, paying just $2.7 million for the failed $200 million, four-story, 500,000-square-foot oceanside shopping site, according to a press release on the unveiling.

Approximately half of the facility’s retail space is currently vacant.  

The press conference will take place at noon on Tuesday, Feb. 24, during which Blatstein, who is working under his real estate development firm Tower Investments, and Steelman will present their “dramatic redevelopment plans" in an attempt at saving the city. reporter Joseph N. DiStefano recently speculated on the possibility of Blatstein's role in Atlantic City's revival and wondered if the developer is capable of financing this project at the same time as several other projects in Atlantic City and Philly.

Answering his own question, DiStefano wrote, “With no one else apparently beating down the door to make any of them happen, he's free to do what developers do: tell attractive stories and seek financing.”

We'll have to wait and see.