Can the rich & checkered history of Atlantic City provide clues to it’s future? Yup. If you believe ‘those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it’, you might want to place a bet on yet another, re-invented Atlantic City.
Blatstein, Straub, Fertitta and Icahn are four that have placed big bets on a new Atlantic City. Even Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway is bullish: see his investments in Real Estate & news publications (Press of AC) in the Atlantic City region.
When did these smart guys make a moves to acquire AC property? When the market looked like crap. There was blood in the water and nothing but negative press. They bought in… when everybody wanted out. They just followed the simple rule: Buy low and sell high.
It all started with the massive cahones of Dr. Pitney. In 1853, Pitney pushed Philadelphia railroad investors to build the Camden and Atlantic Railroad. Desolate, no roads… and plenty of bugs. The good Doctor persevered and kept pitching AC (then known as Absecon Island) as a healthful destination for the mid-Atlantic middle class.
In the 20’s, Nucky leveraged prohibition by ignoring it. The beloved yet crooked Nuckster turned Atlantic City into the original Sin City.
WW II soldiers & support staff were charmed by Atlantic City when stationed there in the 40’s.
The 60’s brought a failed attempt at political conventions. That screw-up was somewhat forgotten by the dazzling entertainment in our town: Louie Prima, Frank Sinatra, Martin & Lewis, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and other legends that played the 500 Club, Steel Pier, Convention Hall, etc.
The late 70’s brought another savior; casino gaming. 30 great years went by fast, huh? AC got fat and lazy. Reliance on the casino golden goose. Eventually it was severely injured, along with much of the cash being generated. Gobs of cash never re-invested into our town.
Today, Atlantic City is being forced to re-invent itself. It’s not voluntary this time. Smart investors smell opportunity among the rubble. Money is now coming off the sidelines. Investors like Icahn, Straub & Blatstein are laying chips down on what they think is a sure bet. A painful, yet ultimately successful re-invention of Atlantic City.