By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
ATLANTIC CITY — When the new Island Waterpark opens next month at the Showboat Hotel, arguably the largest family entertainment facility ever built in the historic resort city, Brandon Dixon will be somewhere standing quietly with a smile on his face.
The president of Tower Investments and close confidant of its owner Bart Blatstein, Dixon is one of the few African American to lead a large real estate firm in the country. For Blatstein, Dixon is simply the best man for the job — period.
“Brandon is African American but he’s not in the position for that reason,” Blatstein told Front Runner New Jersey about the only person other than him to hold the title of president and CEO of Tower Investments. “He is extremely, extremely talented at what he does for us. Brandon is my family.
“He’s a wonderful guy and very, very special. I’m going to need to slow down at some point because I’m kind of getting older, but I’m very comfortable that this transition has been taking place and couldn’t be happier with Brandon at the helm.”
The excitement around Atlantic City and the sprawling indoor water park hopes to attract families in groups not only in the summertime but in the winter as well when the city traditionally slows down.
Dixon oversees asset management for the company’s commercial and residential real estate portfolio in both the Philadelphia and Atlantic City markets — including the 120,000-square-foot water park that is being billed as the largest indoor water park on the East Coast.
Tower Investment purchased the Showboat Hotel in 2016 and moved to turn the former casino into a family entertainment destination and full-time hotel and residential living space.
Dixon said he has high hopes for the water park, which is a good sign considering the awards he has captured for doing his due diligence. He has been celebrated by the Philadelphia Business Journal’s prestigious 40 Under 40 Business Leaders Award and the Who’s Who in Real Estate Award by the South Jersey Business Journal.
Dixon has worked for Blatstein for the past 17 years and in 2020 elevated to lead his Tower Investment company as president and CEO. He has served as chief operations officer for more than a decade. Dixon said, though, working with Blatstein and his family has been more than a job.
“Bart is more than just a boss,” Dixon said. “He’s almost like a father to me. His wife, I call her mom, by the way. They have completely embraced me.
“Bart has taught me everything that I know to date regarding real estate. It’s been probably the best place of my life in my career. Being handpicked by Bart to follow in his footsteps, it’s been an amazing accomplishment for me.”
Dixon said Blatsein was working with a third-party management company on a project and he noticed how Dixon stood out as one of that company’s national sales directors and working on new construction projects.
“Philadelphia was actually out of my territory,” said the Palm Beach, Fla. native. “My company at the time told me that he was going to be their toughest client and I had to work with him. I’ll never forget that moment because when Bart and I shook hands there was like this overwhelming amount of chemistry. We both wanted the same thing.”
Dixon said Blatstein knows exactly what he wants in projects and believes strongly in them.
“What he wants is 100% success, not 99%,” Dixon said. “It must be 100% and accurate every single time. I worked really hard to get that to him and it’s been amazing.”
And despite Blatstein’s larger-than-life persona, the real estate mogul sealed his working relationship with his future president over a few slices of pie at a local pizza joint.
“He wrote his offer to me on a napkin,” Dixon said with a laugh. “And it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. I’ve been with him ever since.”
Dixon shares Blatstein’s enthusiasm over Atlantic City and said the company will continue to invest with that vision in mind.
“Atlantic City has had its blight moments, but it’s definitely coming back,” Dixon said. “My passion for Atlantic City is an example of our company’s passion for transformational development. I think that [Island Waterpark] is near and dear to my heart because Bart grew up going to the shore.
“He remembers all the fun times and all the things that he used to do as a kid going to the shore. For him, it’s about bringing back that vision. I share that bringing back the vision and the same things that people used to love to go to Atlantic City for 20 and 25 years ago.”
Dixon said the vision of the Showboat Hotel is to attract crowds who may not be interested in gambling but want all the other amenities Atlantic City has to offer, such as the beach, great shopping, dining and top-notch entertainment.
Showboat looks to attract local and regional residents as well as the traveling tourist, something that has long been a concern for Atlantic City inhabitants feeling welcomed in their own city. Dixon pointed to the opening of the Lucky Snake Arcade, billed as the largest game arcade on the East Coast complete with its own indoor go-kart track.
“That’s what we’re hoping to bring to Atlantic City, a year-round, family-friendly resort,” Dixon said. “The Lucky Snake arcade has been a huge attraction to the locals. Without any doubt, we are expecting the water park to do the same as far as a fun place for the locals and tourists.
“We also take a lot of pride in hiring locals in jobs here. We work hard in hiring people within the zip code of all of our properties and we are creating jobs for them.”
Dixon said he is ready to see what happens next with Island Waterpark’s opening and the future in Atlantic City.
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