From the outside, the nine-story building on the beach block of Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City looks like many other high-rises that dot the casino resort town’s streets.
But the Schultz-Hill Foundation Professional Arts Building, currently listed for sale at $10.9 million, holds a secret beyond that façade.
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Hidden in the top three floors is a lavish, 22,000-square-foot penthouse mansion dubbed Casa del Cielo, or “house of the sky” in Italian by its owners, a well-known Atlantic City couple who converted the building into their ornate home two decades ago.
“I never thought we would sell it,” former Atlantic City councilman and businessman John Schultz told NJ Advance Media on Tuesday.
Schultz formerly owned Studio Six, Brass Rail and Club Tru, all popular, now-shuttered nightclubs in Atlantic City. He and his husband Gary Hill remain local businessmen and philanthropists in the city, which recently named a street after them.
They bought the building at 1616 Pacific Ave. in 2004 for $5 million and put another $7 million of renovations into it. Schultz, who was born in Atlantic City and has vowed to die there, and Hill now split their time between Atlantic City and Florida, so they want to downsize their New Jersey residence, but stay in the city.
“I said, ‘I built this, maybe somebody else will enjoy it.’ We got out of it what we wanted,” said Schultz, who grew up on Drexel Avenue in the Inlet section of the city.
The Casa del Cielo residence in the top three floors has an ornate grand staircase with an intricate glass dome, a dining room that seats 30 with a 4,200-strand crystal chandelier, a massive kitchen equipped for catering, a wine room, a theater, an indoor pool, a sauna and massage room and a gym.
The penthouse floor has the primary bedroom and bathroom, a living room, kitchen and breakfast nook.
“There’s nothing like it in the whole county,” said Todd Gordon of BHHS Fox & Roach Margate, who along with his mother and other family members works for the Hartman Home team.
The ninth floor rooftop has a patio, full indoor kitchen, bathroom, grill, two fireplaces, a hot tub and a garden. Above it, there is a rooftop sundeck with 360 degree views of the city, beach and ocean.
“They even have a crane to lift things to the roof for deliveries,” said Paula Hartman, Gordon’s mother and real estate teammate at BHHS Fox & Roach Margate. The crane, she said, is included in the sale.
The first six floors of the building have office suites, some of which are rented. The rentals currently generate about $30,000 a month in income, Gordon said.
The building is also outfitted with 36 high-tech security cameras that provide views of the perimeter and inside of the building. And the building has swipe card access. The ground floor has a three-car garage.
“We have people reaching out who are celebrities, sports stars, city-oriented people who have ties to Atlantic City,” said Hartman. “It could be used for weddings, as a bed and breakfast. You could have parties there like you wouldn’t believe.”
It has hosted countless charity and political events, birthday parties, and in June, Schultz and Hill’s 35th anniversary.
But the home requires a lot of upkeep. “I just don’t feel like doing payroll and taxes,” Schultz said. “I want to relax.”
They’re not leaving Atlantic City. The couple is building a 10,000-square-foot townhouse on Westminster Avenue, which was recently renamed Schultz-Hill Boulevard.
Like Casa del Cielo, the new home will have a rooftop farm, as Schultz calls it, where he grows corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, beets and peppers.
“People are amazed how many vegetables I put out,” he said. “It has full sun all the time.”
The home is being sold furnished, except for a few light fixtures that have been in Schultz family and other personal and sentimental items. He also has about 200 gay history books that he’s donating to Stockton University’s library.
“The bed is built in. The theater is built in. We won’t have room for the 30-person dining table. And we can’t take the swimming pool,” Schultz said, adding, “I think the person who buys it will probably want to keep it the way it is because it’s already perfect.”
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Allison Pries may be reached at [email protected].