Thursday, April 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Wastin' away...in AyCee?

One of Atlantic City's most persistent rumors appears to be true after all--sort of.

Wastin' away...in AyCee?

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A vintage postcard depiction of Steeplechase Pier, which may soon house a Jimmy Buffett-owned Margaritaville Landshark Bar & Grill. Photo: www.ebay.com

One of Atlantic City's most persistent rumors appears to be true after all--sort of.

For months, it's been whispered that singer Jimmy Buffett's hospitality empire had its sights set on Resorts Atlantic City, and that plans were afoot to turn the oldest legal casino east of Nevada into a Margaritavile-branded property with all the palm-tree-bedecked trimmings such a move would entail.

Friday's Press of Atlantic City reports that Resorts has filed paperwork that could lead to Margaritaville's introduction into the long-beleaguered seaside gaming market--but not, as suspected, at the casino-hotel itself. Instead, it appears that Buffett and company are eyeing the old Steeplechase Pier as its base of operations.

According to the article, the blueprint calls for the construction of a (what else?) tropical-themed entertainment complex anchored by a Margaritaville Landshark Bar & Grill. Once all the paper work is okey-dokeyed by the various governmental bodies that would be involved, construction of the $6 million project would take a year to complete.

A long-decaying remnant of AyCee's storied, pre-World War II past, Steeplechase Pier is located at Pennsylvania Avenue and the Boardwalk. It's been owned by Resorts for years. 

This isn't the first time Buffett business interests and Atlantic City have been linked. In 2008, a deal to turn what was then Trump Marina (now Golden Nugget) into a Margaritaville hotel-casino fell apart.

There's no question the Margaritaville brand would be a great fit for the town, one can't help but wonder what impact a single restaurant--no matter how high-profile and popular--would have on tourism. Are people who so far have not included Atlantic City on their "to do" lists really going to change their minds just for some coconut shrimp and a bottle of Landshark beer?

While every little bit helps, this sounds like another Band-Aid-on-a-tumor move when major surgery is obviously required.

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About this blog
Philly native Chuck Darrow has literally covered Atlantic City’s casino scene since Day One: He was there on assignment the night in November 1976 when voters approved legalized casinos.

Since then, Chuck has covered the town and its gaming industry for several area newspapers -- which is why, in some circles, he’s known as “Boardwalk Charlie.”

You can reach Chuck at darrowc@phillynews.com. Reach Chuck at darrowc@phillynews.com.

Chuck Darrow