A “Margaritaville” complex, inspired by singer Jimmy Buffett’s hit song that celebrates the island culture, will be coming to the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City as early as next spring, officials said Tuesday in a beach-themed press conference on the Boardwalk.
“Simply put, it’s a pleasure and an honor to be here. I feel kind of like Nucky Thompson in a way,” said Buffett, referencing the Atlantic City political boss in the show “Boardwalk Empire.”
Buffett, who wore a green polo-style shirt and casual tan shorts with tattered hems, drew laughs and cheers from a crowd that had flocked to catch a glimpse of the singer.
Joining Buffett were Governor Chris Christie, who wore a pink-colored lei that matched his tie, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Jon Hanson, who heads a committee that advises the state’s gaming industry.
“Today’s just another sign of the real progress and commitment that’s being made here to Atlantic City,” said Christie.
During the press conference, workers atop a billboard ripped away the temporary covering to reveal the Margaritaville brand’s parrot logo.
The project, estimated to cost at least $35 million, will include a year-round beach bar, 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar, Landshark Bar and Grill, retail stores and a coffee shop, officials said. Part of the Margaritaville complex will be built within the existing Resorts casino, as part of an effort to rebrand the casino’s facade with the Margaritaville theme.
Other parts of the complex will be constructed on the beach and the site of the old Steeplechase Pier. Resorts officials say they’re still working out details on how gaming will work within Margaritaville.
“It certainly does not go without being noticed by me and a lot of people who work for me that the Jersey Shore has the largest flock of parrotheads,” Buffett said. “So in helping bring back a great beach town, we’re also giving a flock of migrant birds a nest to come to.”
The first Margaritaville opened in Key West, FL, and the brand has since extended to many other locations including Orlando, Nashville, Las Vegas and New Orleans.
Earlier in the day, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) discussed the preliminary determination of project eligibility, said John Palmieri, the head of the authority.
In August, funding and final approvals will be voted on, said Palmieri. He estimated that about $17 million in public funding will be used to finance the project, but not all of that will come from CRDA. ““Listen, this is just not just some guy’s bar. This is Margaritaville,” Palmieri said. “It’s a dominant brand. It’s a good step. It creates momentum for us.”
Palmieri, who joked that he wasn’t a “Parrothead” but loved margaritas, took a moment Tuesday to point out to the beach and envision what “Margaritaville” will bring to the boardwalk.
“Look at this setting,” he said. “On a day like this, you can only imagine what it’s going to be like.”
This isn’t the first time Jimmy Buffett has been mentioned as possibly coming to Atlantic City. Several years ago, his name was tossed around as possibly having interest in the old Trump Marina property, but a deal was never worked out.
“It’s been talked about him coming to Atlantic City forever,” said Aaron Gomes, the executive vice president of operations at Resort.
Gomes said it was his father and former Resorts executive, Dennis Gomes, who first proposed the idea of Buffett partnering with Resorts. Dennis Gomes died earlier this year.
For more information about Atlantic City or the Real Estate Market in the surrounding area (Ventnor, Margate and Longport), contact:
Sherri Lilienfeld, Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors, 9218 Ventnor Avenue, Margate, NJ 08402
Sherri@NJ-ShoreRealEstate.com, (609) 822-4200 ext. 711 or (609) 287-1795 (cell).