ATLANTIC CITY — Boardwalk Hall, one of the city’s iconic buildings, can be converted into a casino hotel without losing its historic value, state Sen. Bill Gormley said Friday.
Gormley, R-Atlantic, is pushing the idea of preserving the facade of the 77-year old structure as well as its 151-foot roof and its historic organ to make room for a new $3 billion casino hotel. The West Hall, an annex built in the 1970s, would be demolished.
“You could use the building as a catalyst for economic revival without turning our back on history,” Gormley said, comparing the idea to the renovation of Union Station in Washington, D.C.
Casino moguls Steve Wynn and Donald Trump have reportedly discussed the idea of using Boardwalk Hall as a part of the site for a new casino hotel. The idea sparked letters of protest and prompted Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson — who oversees the authority that owns the hall — to announce that he would oppose any effort to raze the building.
Once the site of the Miss America Pageant, Boardwalk Hall is on the National Register of Historic Places, giving it some protection from demolition. There was talk of razing the hall years ago before a $90 million renovation, completed in 2001, converted the crumbling building into a 14,000-seat sports and entertainment arena.
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