New York-based Keating & Associates LLC says it is under contract to buy a one-acre development site on the Atlantic City boardwalk beside the shuttered Revel casino, which it also wants to acquire.
The private equity firm has made a nonrefundable deposit toward an $8 million purchase of the vacant tract between Rhode Island and Metropolitan Avenues, to the Revel's immediate east, chief strategist Alex Fredericks said in an email Tuesday.
The land's current owner, Lazocean LP, previously planned for the site a 30-story, 124-unit condominium complex with a robot-operated parking system and 4,400 square feet of retail space, to be known as the Metropolitan at Revel Beach.
Chip Pressman, who represented the company during the project's permitting process in 2012, told website NJBIZ at the time that the venture would benefit from the Revel's anticipated success.
But the casino closed due to financial troubles in September 2014 after operating for only 2½ years, and the Metropolitan condo project was never started.
Keating said in a release that company officials would seek a zoning change for the site to enable heights of 40 to 50 stories so that more retail and restaurant space could be accommodated.
"We see such a bright future for this end of the boardwalk," Keating co-chairman Jeffery Keating said in the release. "There are some really exciting days ahead, and we feel really blessed to be a part of the future of Atlantic City."
The property is being acquired from "the estate of" Lazocean, Fredericks said. Mortgage documents filed with the Atlantic County clerk's office list Stephen Lazovitz, a South Jersey developer who died in September 2016, as the company's president. Pressman, who is Lazovitz's son-in-law, did not immediately respond to a phone message.
Keating is closing in on its acquisition of the lot two months after announcing that it had offered $225 million to buy the vacant Revel next door — since rebranded as the Ten casino resort — from developer Glenn Straub of Wellington, Fla.
The resort is apparently under contract to an entity controlled by Denver-based developer Bruce Deifik, whose background includes gaming projects in Las Vegas.
Jeffery Keating said his company still hoped to acquire the casino property.
"We are working between our counsel and Mr. Straub's to come to a conclusion on the Revel that we are still feverishly excited about," he said. "The Metropolitan project will only enhance our position and objectives."