In a major development, we can confirm that Stockton University is preparing to turn over ownership of the iconic Carnegie Library back to the City of Atlantic City.

In short, there is a reverter clause in the original agreement that requires Stockton University to use the Carnegie Library for certain qualifying educational purposes … or, the ownership legally returns to the City of Atlantic City.

This is where the always dysfunctional Atlantic City Board of Education comes into play.

Back in 2019, there was a basic understanding that an agreement was at hand, whereby Stockton University and the ACBOE would agree to trade the Carnegie Library to the ACBOE, and Stockton University would take ownership of the Atlantic City Boathouse.

Stockton University operated in good faith and went about the process of shutting the Carnegie Center down and removed it from their educational plans … in light of the fact that it was poised to become administrative office space for the ACBOE.

It was the perfect trade because the ACBOE wastes more than $500,000 per year to rent office space. They needed the Carnegie Library, Stockton University didn’t.

Stockton University needed the Boathouse. The ACBOE has underutilized this beautiful space from the beginning.

Proof of this is the fact that the current ACBOE events scheduled through June 2022 do not include a single rowing event at the Atlantic City Boathouse.

This defies logic.

Meanwhile, Stockton University would have used it daily and was denied use of the Boathouse by the ACBOE, and they were forced to move to Brigantine on February 18, 2022.

Brigantine Mayor Vince Sera, Phil Guenther, The Brigantine Rowing Club and other partners have welcomed Stockton University to Brigantine with open arms. The relationship is already flourishing over the past month.

Former Atlantic City Superintendent of Public Schools Barry Caldwell was in favor of the Carnegie Library/Atlantic City Boathouse trade, until suddenly he wasn’t.

Then, came the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down nearly everything and dramatically altered life for the next 1 1/2 years.

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Stockton University wrote Atlantic City Business Administrator Anthony Swan on March 15, 2022 to confirm the details that Stockton University was proactively announcing the exercising of the terms of the reverter clause.

The terms of the Deed to the Carnegie Library are unambiguous and provide:

“The Grantee (Stockton University) shall continue to use the building for the purposes of providing higher education for a curriculum in business administration, gaming hospitality and tourism (the "Restricted Uses") unless an alternative use is approved, in writing, by the Business Administrator of the City of Atlantic City.”

Stockton University has not ever requested to use the Carnegie Library for any purpose outside of the deed parameters.

We have also learned that the Casino Reinvestment Authority has been a good working partner since this deed was first executed on June 9, 2009.

The reverter clause is triggered when:

“If the Grantee (Stockton University) fails to use the building for the Restricted Uses or an alternative use
is approved, in writing, by the Business Administrator of the City of Atlantic City, the land and improvements shall revert to the City of Atlantic City with title and interest therein reverting to the City of Atlantic City.”

This is exactly where the matter stands right now. Stockton University is not currently using the Carnegie Library for educational and administrative purposes.

This is because in 2019, Stockton University was honoring the wishes of the ACBOE, who indicated their interest in occupying the Carnegie Library as soon as possible for their educational/administrative needs.

Over the past year, Stockton University determined
that it will not be using the Carnegie Library for the Restricted Uses or any other currently approved use.

Hence, they have now triggered the terms of the Deed, which now results in the Carnegie Library title and interests reverting back to the City of Atlantic City.

Stockton University is in the process now of effectuating the deed and documents required to complete the reversion.

This is a typical challenging ending, that you can expect, whenever you try to work with the Atlantic City Board of Education and the City of Atlantic City.

SOURCES: Stockton University and Atlantic City Board of Education contacts.

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