An Atlantic City casino development group headed by Curtis Bashaw and Wallace Barr has proposed a .5 billion to billion mega-resort on the site of the old Dunes Casino, at the southwestern end of the Boardwalk. At 832 feet, it would rival some New York skyscrapers and include 2,000 hotel rooms, more than 200,000 square feet of gaming space, 350,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment, and 150,000 square feet of convention space.
Bashaw (see interview, page 62) is the former executive director of the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Authority; Barr is the former president and CEO of Caesars Entertainment. They did not release details of the proposed project until a construction permit with the state became public.
The project would be the latest in a string of mega-resorts in Atlantic City. Revel Entertainment is currently building a $2 billion casino resort on the opposite end of the Boardwalk; MGM Mirage has plans for a $5 billion casino resort near Borgata; and Pinnacle Entertainment is still deciding whether to proceed with its proposed $2 billion mega-casino on the site of the old Sands. The onetime airport, Bader Field, also has been proposed as a multiple casino site.
Bashaw says his planned mega-resort will only enhance the city’s prospects for a vigorous future. “I’ve always been a big believer that a rising tide lifts all boats,” he said in an interview. “I think the developments on the drawing board are all going to come into the marketplace and take Atlantic City to the next step, including Bader.”
His proposed resort would “create a nice rhythm on the Boardwalk,” Bashaw added.
In preparation for the proposed project, AC Gateway has assembled about 14 acres of land. Construction could begin as early as next year, but tight credit markets have put a damper on financing for major casino
projects. Pinnacle said in February that its casino resort is on hold until the credit crunch lets up.