Atlantic City’s Garden Pier, purchased earlier this year by Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein, will be reopening next month as a locals-focused entertainment venue with live music and an outdoor bar area. In the shadow of the still-shuttered mega-casino Revel and not far from Blatstein’s Showboat hotel, the newly renamed PierAC plans to draw Atlantic County residents with a reward-card program and drink specials – plus entertainment.
“We see Atlantic City on the verge of turning around,” said Rob Erickson, a managing partner of Jersey Boyz Productions, which is leasing the pier from Blatstein. How will that turnaround happen? “It’s placing more emphasis on entertainment, drawing people down here,” Erickson added.
Watch some of our interview with Erickson here:
Jersey Boyz Productions is also producing the Garden State Country Music Festival on Atlantic City’s Bader Field in the fall and the team plans to bring its events expertise to PierAC, with ideas for themed parties and other entertainment this year. There are plans to add a sports bar to the pier, as well as two restaurants at a later date, Erickson said.
The pier is overlooked by the former Revel, just north along the Boardwalk from Blatstein’s Showboat hotel. Erickson hopes that by opening this year, PierAC will be well established by the time the nearby Taj Mahal casino reopens as a Hard Rock casino next year. They have plans for occasional fall and winter events that will extend the pier’s season this year, before the restaurants are built.
Erickson hails from Phoenix and now lives in Clark, New Jersey, but he is a fan of Atlantic City and the PierAC site in particular. “This is a great opportunity. You’re not going to find this view anyplace else,” he said, gesturing to the ocean. PierAC has already teamed up with the Atlantic City Surf School on the beach just south of the pier, he added.
To draw locals, PierAC will be competitive on pricing and plans to offer Atlantic County residents a rewards card. There will also be daily drink specials, including a plan for a service industry day-drinking deal on Mondays (three members of the Jersey Boyz Productions team were former law enforcement officials).
PierAC’s open is pending city inspections and permits, but Erickson said his experience so far with Atlantic City officials has been a good one. “The city has been very receptive to everything we’ve done,” he said. “They’ve been really helpful with everything that we’re doing here and at Bader Field.”
Blatstein’s team reached out to Jersey Boyz Productions about the pier in the winter, and they received their land-use permit from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority more than a month ago, but they have been keeping plans quiet until they had details locked down, Erickson said. “We didn’t want to be projecting dates and then extending opening,” he said.