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Fla. firm buys part of Bally's AC casino

Historic Claridge hotel tower sold

A FLORIDA HOTEL company has reached a deal to buy the Claridge hotel tower portion of Bally's Atlantic City, but the casino itself is not part of the sale.

TJM Properties, Inc., a Clearwater, Fla., hotel operator, announced yesterday that it's buying the 500-room Claridge hotel tower. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

"We are very pleased with TJM Properties' extensive experience and its plan to keep the hotel open and operating while it upgrades the rooms, installs a new front desk and restaurant," said Kevin Ortzman, senior vice president of Bally's, Caesars Atlantic City and the Showboat Casino-Hotel, three of the four AC casinos owned by Caesars Entertainment Inc.

"Through its investment, TJM will be adding nongaming amenities that will enhance the experience of guests of the Claridge, Bally's and the entire city," Ortzman said.

The sale is expected to close within 90 days.

The Claridge used to be a stand-alone casino before it was bought by the company that owns Bally's and three other AC casinos.

The Claridge opened in 1930 and, at 370 feet, was the tallest building in New Jersey until 1989. The smallest casino in the city, its motto was "Smaller Is Friendlier."

"We are excited about the great opportunity to own and operate this magnificent historic hotel," said Matt McCarthy of TJM Properties.

Katie Dougherty, a spokeswoman for Caesars Entertainment, said the casino itself will not change hands.

"They're looking at nongaming amenities, entertainment, things like that," she said. "They never mentioned anything about wanting a casino license."

TJM Properties operates 10 hotels in the Tampa Bay area, including three under the Quality Inn, Baymont Inn and Howard Johnson flags.