Atlantic City pursuing Wynn

Jan 2, 2007 6:04 AM

They had him, but lost him. Now they want him back.

That’s Atlantic City and the man they are looking for is casino mogul Steve Wynn.

The lure that is being used to attract Wynn is the city’s historic Boardwalk Hall. Influential State Sen. Bill Gormley told the Press of Atlantic City that he is planning legislation that would preserve the façade of the historic hall while using its shell to house a $3 billion retail mall, much like Union Station in Washington, D.C.

But attached to that, he says, will be a casino/hotel.

And that’s where Wynn comes in.

The recent buzz is that Wynn and fellow casino giant Donald Trump are working on a deal to replace the Trump Plaza with a new casino so large that it might take over Boardwalk Hall. Reportedly, Wynn already has met with Gov. Jon Corzine regarding his return to Atlantic City where he opened and ran a casino/hotel called the Golden Nugget. He later sold the property to the late Arthur Goldberg who at that time was head of Bally Gaming, a company that was later acquired by Hilton Corp.

Corzine has acknowledged his interest in a Wynn project.

Bringing Wynn back to New Jersey, he is reported to have remarked, "would be one of the missing ingredients" to help Atlantic City reach "the absolute pinnacle in the industry."

Boardwalk Hall was the site of the Miss America Pageant for 77 years and has hosted Beatles concerts as well as the 1964 Democratic National Convention. It was erected in 1929 and underwent a $90 million renovation in 2001.

Gormley’s hope is to maintain the historical significance of the building and replicate the original mission of the building as a catalyst for Atlantic City. Accomplishing that, he says, would generate a "unique circumstance."