A Philadelphia developer known for taking chances on properties others steer away from is ready to make the Pier Shops at Caesars his next challenge.

Bart Blatstein has reportedly agreed to buy the struggling Pier Shops for $2.8 million, less than 2% of the $200 million that developer Taubman Centers, Inc. of Detroit paid in 2004.

Word is that the purchase of the Pier Shops, which is expected to be completed before year's end, might be the first of several for Blatstein, who sees a renascence in Atlantic City's future.

"I love Atlantic City. I grew up going to the Shore. And this is the best time to buy there," with casinos shutting down and property values cratering, Blatstein told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday. "For those who think A.C. is done for, they are out of their minds. This is a great opportunity to come back into Atlantic City."

Blatstein's partner in the deal is casino architect Paul Steelman. Steelman is a Longport native and a graduate of Atlantic City High School, whose clients include gambling mogul Steve Wynn and Brookfield Partners, the company which just won the bidding to buy the failed Revel Casino at a fraction of its cost.

The Pier Shops, which has high-end retailers such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton, has been on the decline almost since it was developed.The retail space is now just 52 percent occupied.

Blatstein's company, Tower Investments has been an active player recently buying and developing retail, residential and mixed-use properties in Philadelphia.