The Claridge Hotel (Atlantic City)

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The Claridge Hotel
Claridge Atlantic City (Night).JPG
The Claridge Hotel at night
General information
Location Atlantic City, New Jersey
Address Park Place & The Boardwalk
Opening December 1930 (Claridge Hotel)
July 20, 1981 (Claridge Casino)
2014 (The Claridge Hotel)
Owner TJM Properties
Other information
Number of rooms 400
Website
http://www.claridge.com

The Claridge Hotel is a historic hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, opened in 1930. It operated for many years as a casino, known first as "Del Webb's Claridge Hotel and Casino", then the "Claridge Hotel and Casino". The hotel was acquired by Bally's on December 30, 2002. They ran the building as a hotel tower of Bally's Atlantic City, until February, 2014 when the property was acquired by TJM Properties of Clearwater, Florida, who returned the property to a stand-alone hotel.

Location[edit]

Located between Park Place and Indiana Avenue, with an attached parking structure extending to Ohio Avenue, the Claridge is set off the Boardwalk behind Brighton Park. The Claridge stands next to the site where the Sands Atlantic City used to be located.

History[edit]

The Claridge Hotel is different from most Atlantic City resorts, since it did not grow out of a modest boarding house. It was the idea of Philadelphia architect John McShain who designed the 24-story,[1][2] 400-room hotel. Opened in 1930 during The Great Depression, the Claridge became the last of the great hotels built in Atlantic City near the Boardwalk; no new resorts rose in the city until the 1960s when a Howard Johnsons hotel was built along the boardwalk. Due to the hotel’s tall, slick, slender appearance it gained the nickname “The Skyscraper By The Sea".

The Claridge was a successful hotel during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Marilyn Monroe was a special guest there in the 1950s when she was a judge of the annual Miss America Pageant. Despite Atlantic City’s downturn as a premiere vacation resort in the 1960s, the hotel continued to operate and survived into the casino era.

Claridge Atlantic City
Closeup of the Signage

Casino era[edit]

In February 1977, Claridge Associates, a group of Connecticut investors led by F. Francis D'Addario purchased the Claridge Hotel. In 1979 they took on Del E. Webb Corporation as a partner in order to obtain financing.[3] Del Webb was the owner of several Nevada casinos, including The Mint Hotel and Casino in Downtown Las Vegas. The Claridge hotel was expanded with 200 new guest rooms being built. The Claridge had the distinction of being the last of the pre-casino Atlantic City hotels to be refurbished into a casino. New Jersey then Governor Brendan Byrne had been dissatisfied with what he called “Patch and Paint” jobs of the city’s old resorts, this had been done with Resorts Atlantic City, and the Dennis Hotel, which is part of Bally's Atlantic City, and lobbied hard for the old structures to be torn down in favor of new resorts. Del Webb faced a difficult time obtaining a permanent license but finally obtained one in 1982. At that time, Del Webb bought out Claridge Associates' interest in the partnership.

In July 1981 the new casino opened under the name Del Webb’s Claridge Hotel and Casino (the hotel eventually became known as Del Webb’s Claridge and eventually just The Claridge). The London-themed hotel saw success early on with its multi-level casino and 600-seat showroom that featured names like Aretha Franklin, Donny & Marie, Billy Crystal, Penn & Teller, Joan Rivers and The 5th Dimension. As larger casinos were built in the city, the Claridge had a hard time competing as a small casino in a large market. In the 1990s a parking garage was added.

In 2001, Park Place Entertainment purchased[4] the property and a year later formally announced plans to merge operations with Bally's Atlantic City. As a result, the Claridge became a hotel tower for Bally's. In 2009 all of the Claridge's own restaurants ceased operation but a small cafe, "The Corner Cafe", that continues to operate in the Gateway area that connects the Claridge Tower with Bally's.

In 2009, the Claridge's casino floor was rebranded as theRIDGE, a dance club style casino. It features table games with a dance floor and DJ in the center. The Claridge went through a $3 million restoration of all its rooms and a facelift of the outside structure during the summer of 2010 through spring 2011. This also included the outside structure for a total amount of $20 million.

The Ridge closed its gambling and food amenities during the winter of 2012, with Bally's still using the 500 rooms for their guests.

Current status[edit]

On October 29, 2013 Caesars Entertainment issued a statement announcing that the Claridge tower was sold to TJM Properties of Clearwater, Florida. According to the statement, TJM will continue to operate the hotel, and add non-gaming amenities to the property.[5][6] On February 24, 2014, TJM Properties officially took ownership of the Claridge. [7] The Claridge Hotel reopened in May 2014.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°21′27″N 74°25′54″W / 39.3575°N 74.4318°W / 39.3575; -74.4318

Preceded by
Haddon Hall Hotel
Tallest Building in Atlantic City
1930—1989
370 ft
Succeeded by
Bally's Atlantic City