What’s Keeping the South Inlet Empty? In mid-August of last summer a real estate investor from Florida named Bruce Pender bought a small plot of land in the South Inlet neighborhood of Atlantic City. He paid $25,000 to acquire 206 S. Vermont Avenue, tax records show. The old owner, Seaview Property Development of Turnersville, had been sitting on the land since 2005. In real estate terms, this was one of the rarest commodities going: beachfront land about an hour’s drive from Philadelphia—two and a half hours (give or take) from New York City.
Sometime around lunch on Monday of this week, Bill Terrigino of 227 Metropolitan Avenue stood outside gardening in one of the two yards on either side of his home in the South Inlet neighborhood of Atlantic City. Close readers of this space may remember Bill as the oft-chronicled inhabitant of a charming, cedar-sided Victorian house, nearly 110 years old, that has the interesting fate of being located directly across the street from the Revel casino hotel resort, the second-tallest building in the state of New Jersey and the most notorious casino flop in the history of Atlantic City and probably of the world, which sat about 50 feet to the west of Bill’s geraniums,* humming like a spaceship that was running out of electricity. Revel’s owner, an eccentric millionaire named Glenn Straub, had set that coming Wednesday–about 48 hours in the future–as the deadline for what’s been described as a grand reopening, a “soft” opening, a “real soft” opening and a “flaccid” flop (the local press corps has some bros in it). Which made Bill’s neighborhood once again a subject of some media interest. Bill, who’d worked as a banquet waiter at the Golden Nugget back in the 80s, had lived with his family in the Inlet since the early 1990s, and had been in his house well over a decade when work began on the gargantuan Revel, and the South Inlet was turned into the biggest construction site New Jersey.
SOMETIMES IN THE SOUL’S DARK NIGHT or when I just have nothing better to do, I like to go trawling through old books or magazine articles about Atlantic City to find the passages where the town is compared to an aging prostitute.