Blatstein Hopes to Revitalize Playground Offerings by Summer 2017

playground atlantic city
Awesome Structure. Lousy Name.

Beautiful views, spectacular structure, but a horrible name with lousy marketing. Playground Pier, in front of Caesars on the Atlantic City Boardwalk is undergoing another tweak.

In order to fill the empty spots within the Playground, The Playground’s Bart Blatstein has hired a leasing company called Metro Commercial, known as retail specialists in the real-estate world. To date, Blatstein has struggled with the responsibility of leasing retail space inside the Playground. He’s been doing it in-house since 2015 with mixed results.

Blatstein’s TOWER INVESTMENT snagged control of the retail contracts within the pier. The land under the Pier, is owned by Caesars. See legal battle between Blatstein & President of Caesars Atlantic City; Kevin Ortzman. Bart will certainly NOT get any help from Caesars.

The Playground: Maybe the WORST possible name.

  1. Sounds like an actual kids ‘playground’ on the Boardwalk.
  2. Two porno shops in Atlantic City are called ‘The Playground’.

And don’t get me started about the parking issue.

Retail stores…not all high end. Thankfully, the ALWAYS BUSY Apple store is still there. So are Tommy Bahama & Starbucks. Dining options are few….but impressive: Philips Seafood, The Continental and Budakhan.

There’s plenty of entertainment space. Sadly, much of it empty. Plenty of upside potential though. Remember T-Street & the very short-lived WAV night club? Oh, and did you know the Playground Pier features a Multi-Media & News & Podcast production studio? Yup. Triax Media is right there next to Starbucks.

Is Blatstein over-leveraged in Atlantic City? His Playground and Showboat properties need attention. Should Bart tie up even more AC Tourism District property with potential purchase of Garden Pier? Blatstein does NOT own Garden Pier yet. But oddly, many on City Council and the Mayor want him to have it. A steal… just $1.5 million.

An amazing TIP of the pier, outdoor seating, incredible views, but never used or marketed. Maybe that’s because Bart needs to fill the INTERIOR first? Always puzzled me why an ‘ANCHOR’ business …also known as ‘MAGNET’ business… wasn’t locked in first. Something BIG & mass appeal….that attracts a wide audience….it pulls them thru the mall… the ANCHOR STORE. Kinda like having a Bloomingdales….or a Walmart, Target….. as an anchor to a new mall or retail area.

Some say Blatstein should buy Trump Plaza and turn it into a “state of the art” parking garage with a “Cheesecake Factory” on the first level. Without parking, the Pier will fail they say.

Jaime-Lynn Hannigan has a business inside the PLAYGROUND. She believes that absolutely nothing will work, no matter who is hired, until the parking situation is fixed.

History of Playground Pier in Atlantic City

The pier opened as the Million Dollar Pier on July 26, 1906, with a length of 1,700 feet. It was owned by Captain John L. Young, who also owned Young’s Ocean Pier. The pier had the “World’s Largest Ballroom,” Hippodrome Theater, Exhibit Hall, Greek Temple, an aquarium and a roller skating rink. Young built a mansion on the pier for himself, with the address as “No. 1 Atlantic Ocean.”

The pier hosted the 1925 Miss America Pageant. Dance Marathons were held at the pier from 1931 to 1933. During the 1930s, the pier offered a circus, vaudeville acts, orchestras and movies. George Hamid, a circus owner, took over operations in the late 1930s.

The pier was purchased by a group of local businessmen in 1969. A fire in 1981 destroyed part of the pier. It was torn down in 1983 and the 900-foot-long Ocean One shopping mall was erected, which in turn was torn down in 2003 for construction of The Pier at Caesars.


  1. The place doesn’t know what it wants to be and hasn’t for some time. Although I give Mr. Blatstein kudos for trying, he’s just speeded up that process. What worked for him in Philadelphia is obviously not a working here for a variety of reasons.

    Challenging weather outside for five months a year, no parking, competition from the Walk, less people around, terrible name, poor marketing, adjacent properties which have not upgraded their product, better run Marina businesses, AC image problem, high taxes, poor local economic conditions, different demographic of people. I can go on and on.

    Maybe Mr. Blatstein will flip the right switch to get things going in the right direction. For his and AC’s sake I hope he does. In the meantime he’s spending real money with seemingly little success other than amassing real estate without monetization.

  2. George Paige Please contact them and bring Hollywood to Atlantic city! It is fantastic to see all the casino hotels and the oceanviews. when you fly in. It seems that the old guard needs new young blood to make it a cool place. The coolest was when the Resorts helicopters in the beginning days use to land on the pier and all the who who use to get off. Everybody was starring with their mouths open.

  3. Michelle. Nothing I would love more is to make AC a relevant brand again. Despite it’s problems over the years, AC still has a powerful lure due to it’s unique geographical location, it’s beaches, myriad bays, marinas and ocean appeal, the rich and enduring legacy of its “golden age” in the 1920’s and the beautiful simplicity in it’s name “ATLANTIC CITY.” To return the brand to its previous luster will take committed cooperation and a united will of the people, the hotel and casinos and it’s government. You tell me, Michelle… Are they ready and willing?

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