Location, Location, Location! The origin of the above quote was worthy of a full-length article by William Saffire in 2009 in the NY Times and has been quoted since the 1800’s (at least) by real estate moguls and wannabes. What does this have to do with Atlantic City? Everything!
For this month’s column, I talked to two groups of realtors: one that has had a stake in AC for over 30 years and one with an equally long history that came more recently because this is the right location and the right time.
Bevan Farber came to Atlantic City in 1986, specifically to sell an ad in a prestigious magazine to Albert Gardner, the developer who was building the Ocean Club, shortly after the condominium was moved from the drawing board to the Boardwalk. “I so believed in this project that I got my real estate license and began selling the remaining 107+ units. I love this building,” she explains. “I fell in love with living on the boardwalk and looking at the ocean, the beach that I visited regularly while growing up in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.”
Bevan was thrilled to sell condos in the building that she greatly valued. “I drove to McClean Virginia to get my first two listings,” she shares. “I sell with my heart; I try to help people find the right fit.” Thirty years later, she is still selling Ocean Club condos. Her bias comes through clearly, considering the Ocean Club the best place to live in Atlantic City. “We withstood Sandy without a hitch,” she asserts. “Out-of-town owners welcomed people from Margate, who had lost power, to stay in their units.”
“The Ocean Club still stands as a premiere building in Atlantic City, a testament to Albert Gardner, who built a building that never quit; I never quit.” Carol Hartman of Boardwalk Realty, located at the Ritz, a Boardwalk icon, bought Ocean Club Realty in 2006. “Working for them is wonderful. They let me be Bevan.”
“My living and working here has been an amazing journey. Atlantic City offers so much. Where else can you walk to first-rate entertainment and gourmet restaurants after a day at the beach or golfing or boating? We even have shopping within walking distance.” And, as the summer gets into high gear, let’s not forget our free boardwalk entertainment. Bevan’s two words that describe living in an AC boardwalk condo are “comfort and convenience.”
Bevan is not stranger to Atlantic City’s economic roller coaster: ‘This is the third cycle I’ve seen of down selling, but it will change as it always has. Our greatest hurdles, she believes, are overcoming misperceptions, limited public transportation, and taxes.’
“The anticipated sale of the former Atlantic Club to Endeavor, the trams on the boardwalk, the beach bars popping up, Maroon 5 and Rascal Flatts performing on the beach – all wonderful!! Atlantic city is no longer just a gaming town,” she stresses.
Weichert Realtors’ Asbury Group expanded to Atlantic City and located in the Bella several years ago, seeing potential for AC’s rebound. “Business gets better every year,” according to Nathan Chait. Nate, who has been in Atlantic City for decades as a resident and an early casino worker, considers it a great place to live and work. “It’s small, easy to navigate, and of course, we have the beach and the boardwalk.
Gerard (Jerry) Barker adds that this is one of a few free beaches on the New Jersey coast.
Jerry finds it exciting to “watch Atlantic City’s transition from gambling-centric to a beach town with great restaurants and diverse amenities to complement the smaller number of casinos.” “With the change in leadership and the emphasis on redevelopment, this is the ideal time to buy in Atlantic City,” continues Nate, who then quotes Wayne Gretsky: ‘You miss 100% of the shots you never take.’
For those who are still watching and waiting, it’s time to jump into this buyers market. Prices are down and buyers and investors see the potential. During this transition, Atlantic City is a sure bet. This is underlined by the enthusiastic reaction of those at this past weekend’s Bella auction, which attracted almost 200 people and sold all 39 units.
Nate cited all those who recently put their money and their faith in the city, rattling off many of the exciting changes taking place: “Harrah’s new conference center and Resorts’ center soon to open, the Claridge’s new image that includes the Holtzman Gallery and anticipates a children’s museum, new apartments on the drawing board, the revival of Mississippi Avenue and the growth of an Arts District.”
And then we have the newly opened Playground and Endeavor’s plans to incorporate family-friendly attractions and so much more. Boutique hotel gambling will add another dimension. Jerry sums up the view of many, “I’ve never seen an area with such potential.”
The Bella, built at the far eastern end of the boardwalk, was positioned to be the polestar for that region’s development. Revel’s opening was a boon; it’s closing, of course did not help. The good news is that the area is bubbling with potential projects and will eventually be the much-desired destination originally envisioned.
Ocean Club Realty and Weichert Realtors are bookends on the boardwalk. Many other excellent realtors are in the city ready to welcome investors, homebuyers, and businesses. As Mayor Don Guardian recently said, “Atlantic City is open for business.”
Don’t miss your opportunity to live, work, invest, or just enjoy all it has to offer. Boardwalk condos often begin as vacation homes and eventually become home. Don’t just DOAC; LIVE AC.
“True Believers” appears monthly in The AC Times. Are you a “True Believer”? Email Harriet Diamond at firstname.lastname@example.org. Harriet is a retired business owner and management consultant, now living and writing in Atlantic City. She is the author of eight business and communication books and numerous published articles.