A world-class development in Atlantic City, dubbed the world’s largest indoor oceanfront water park, has officially begun development and could be the latest indicator that New Jersey’s gambling mecca is a booming city.
On Jan. 12, Philadelphia-based Tower Investments held a groundbreaking ceremony just off Atlantic City‘s iconic boardwalk to mark the start of construction of the Island Water Park. The company, owned by Bart Blatstein, acquired the Showboat for $23 million in 2016 and soon began buying land just north of the hotel.
Jersey Digs was the first news outlet to reveal substantial renders and details about the project in June 2020. The water park finally got approvals from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority in December 2020.
Designed by SOSH Architects of Atlantic City with interior work by Martin Aquatic Design & Engineering of Orlando, Island Waterpark will feature a transparent, retractable roof and approximately 103,000 square feet of rides. The indoor portion will feature waterslides, pools and lazy rivers to accompany amenities such as food and beverage outlets, party rooms, changing rooms, retail booths and lounges.
A new rendering released by Tower Investments ahead of the groundbreaking shows a waterfall, and Blatstein revealed some new equipment on the project during a speech at the ceremony. The future water park will feature an indoor boardwalk with games as well as a 10,000-square-foot “adults-only zone” that serves cocktails and drinks.
An outdoor lazy river will flow just west of the interior portion, while the eastern portion of the property appears to feature outdoor volleyball courts, an enclosed waterslide, and a bar facing the Atlantic Ocean.
Island Waterpark will be connected to the Showboat’s Premier Lite tower, which will undergo a complete renovation as part of the project. The water park will also be connected to the lucky snake arcade, which spans 60,000 square feet and features more than 300 games. This facility, which includes a sports bar with a boxing ring, an esports gaming area, live entertainment venues and a speakeasy, opened last May.
American Resort Management, based in Erie, Pennsylvania, will oversee all aspects of the project’s development. The Company operates a variety of hospitality facilities across the country, including Epic Waters Indoor Water Park in Grand Prairie, Texas and Parrot Island Water Park in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Blatstein said at the ceremony that construction of the Island water park is expected to take about 16 months. Although no official timetable has been released, the facility aims to open to the public sometime in 2023.
Atlantic City’s development scene has recently heated up despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Institutions like the University of Stockton have built new student accommodation, and projects ranging from boutique hotels to historic restorations have sprung up. Construction officially began in November on a new ShopRite near the city’s convention center.