A world-class Atlantic City development dubbed the largest beachfront indoor waterpark in the world has officially begun to rise and could be the latest indicator that New Jersey’s gambling mecca is a city on the rise.
On January 12, Philadelphia-based Tower Investments held a ceremonial groundbreaking just off Atlantic City’s iconic boardwalk to mark the beginning of construction on Island Waterpark. The company, owned by Bart Blatstein, acquired the Showboat for a reported $23 million back in 2016 and quickly began buying land just north of the hotel.
Jersey Digs was the first news outlet to reveal renderings and substantial details about the project in June 2020. The waterpark eventually gained approvals from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority in December 2020.
Designed by Atlantic City-based SOSH Architects with interior work from Martin Aquatic Design & Engineering of Orlando, Island Waterpark will feature a transparent, retractable roof and approximately 103,000-square feet of amusement rides. The indoor portion will feature water slides, pools, and lazy rivers to go along with amenities like food and beverage outlets, party rooms, locker rooms, retail stands, and lounge areas.
A new rendering released by Tower Investments before the groundbreaking shows a waterfall feature and Blatstein revealed a few new amenities about the project during a speech at the ceremony. The future waterpark will include an indoor boardwalk with games plus a 10,000-square foot “adults-only area” that serves cocktails and drinks.
An outdoor lazy river will run just west of the indoor portion, while the eastern section of the property looks to feature outdoor volleyball courts, an enclosed water slide, and a bar facility 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 waterpark will also link up to the Lucky Snake Arcade, which spans 60,000-square feet and features over 300 games. That facility, which includes a sports bar with a boxing ring, an e-sports gaming area, live entertainment venues, and a speakeasy, opened last May.
Erie, P.A.-based American Resort Management will be overseeing all aspects of the project’s development. The company operates various hospitality facilities around the country including Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark in Grand Prairie, Texas and Parrot Island Waterpark in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Blatstein said during the ceremony that construction on Island Waterpark is expected to last about 16 months. While no official timeline has been released, the facility aims to open to the public sometime during 2023.
Atlantic City’s development scene has recently heated up despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Institutions like Stockton University have constructed new student housing and projects ranging from boutique hotels to historic restorations have emerged. Construction officially began in November on a new ShopRite near the city’s Convention Center.