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Blatstein partners with Metro Commercial for Atlantic City Mall

Tower Investments Inc., led by Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein, has announced that it has partnered with Metro Commercial Real Estate Inc. to lease the Playground, its 500,000-square-foot, four-story shopping mall and entertainment center on Atlantic City's Boardwalk.

Metro, a full-service independent retail real-estate firm, said it plans to add  retailers and restaurants at the mall. "This is a fantastic opportunity for retailers to expand their business outreach to the over 25 million who visit Atlantic City each year," said Brandon Anapol, senior vice president at Metro Commercial.

The Playground was previously called the Pier Shops at Caesars. It was owned by gaming giant Caesars Entertainment Inc. before Blatstein acquired it for $2.5 million in spring 2015. The mall has since been under a $50 million renovation orchestrated by Blatstein and his team that has added retailers, bars, and a nightclub to appeal to a younger crowd.

The mall, which in its previous iterations struggled financially, and was criticized as being too pricey and lacking a diverse retail roster, is home to many national retailers, including Apple, Tommy Bahama, Burberry, Gucci, and Tiffany & Co. It has several restaurants on the third floor and meeting space on the fourth floor.

"We are excited to partner with Metro Commercial as we continue to develop the Playground as one of the top entertainment destinations on the East Coast," Blatstein, who also took over the Showboat hotel a few doors down on the  Boardwalk this summer, said in a statement Tuesday.

"They have a stellar reputation for finding the right tenant mix to generate traffic and attract guests who will travel farther and stay longer for a unique experience."

Blatstein declined to reveal the mall's current occupancy rate when asked this week. In an interview in April, he said the complex had gone from 40 percent occupancy to over 75 percent in the year since he became its owner.

He also said his goal was to have the mall 100 percent leased "by year's end."