Curtis Bashaw, Cape Advisors, on Building a Non-Gaming Hotel in Atlantic City

With an array of large casino hotels lining Atlantic City’s Boardwalk, a new non-gaming, boutique hotel is set to debut in the seaside gambling mecca. As reported on CPN on Feb. 13, Cape Advisors, Inc. will open the Chelsea, a 330-room hotel that will not house a casino, this summer. Curtis Bashaw, principal of Cape Advisors, talks about the new hotel, and the continuing evolution of Atlantic City. CPNHospitality: Why did you decide to build this hotel? Bashaw: We are used to developing hotels in a seasonal environment. Also, Atlantic City has added new attractions over the last five years. There are new retail centers, such as the Pier at Caesars, the Quarter at Tropicana, and the Walk. The beach has undergone a major replenishment project, and Boardwalk Hall has become a major concert venue. The opening of The Borgata, five or six years ago, proved that a younger, hipper crowd will come to Atlantic City. I see Atlantic City as being where Las Vegas was 12 or 13 years ago. Also, it can be hard to get a high-end room in Atlantic City, unless you are highly-rated player. And casino regulations state you must have 500 rooms to have a casino. This hotel will have 330 rooms. CPNHospitality: Can you discuss what the hotel is going to offer? Bashaw: We are going to have rooms that we will call “Chelsea Lite,’ that will cater to those in their 20’s and 30’s, for example, a group of friends that will come for a weekend. We will also have “Chelsea Luxe,” rooms at the four-and-five star level. The hotel will also have a 7,500-square-foot spa. It will include two Stephen Starr restaurants, and a 15,000-square-foot pool deck. Also, we will have a beach concession, which will offer our guests beach towels, lounge chairs, and umbrellas.CPNHospitality: How do you see Atlantic City changing? Bashaw: It attracts 35 million visitors a year, and is one tank of gas away from 25 percent of the U.S. population. As Las Vegas has, though, I see hotels deriving more revenue from non-gaming sources. We are going to see more non-gaming hotels, and more condos being developed.I think the express train that is going to run from New York to Atlantic City, that’s going to start in the third quarter of this year, will help the market. It will be casino-branded, and it should appeal to city dwellers who don’t have cars and don’t want to ride the bus. It should be a big advantage.