Hard Rock Atlantic City Opening Delayed Slightly, Targets Summer 2018

Posted on: November 15, 2017, 12:00h. 

Last updated on: November 15, 2017, 10:14h.

Hard Rock Atlantic City is pushing back its opening date by at least several weeks, a new billboard near the town revealing that the casino resort is now targeting the summer of 2018 to welcome guests.

Hard Rock Atlantic City opening
The Trump Taj Mahal is quickly fading from the Boardwalk, as Hard Rock Atlantic City begins to come into existence. (Image: Dale Gerhard/Press of Atlantic City)

A summer inauguration is slightly delayed from earlier reports that the Hard Rock would open during the May 28 Memorial Day weekend. Summer doesn’t officially begin in the Northern Hemisphere until June 21.

Owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Hard Rock acquired the shuttered Trump Taj Mahal from billionaire Carl Icahn in March for $50 million. The company is spending over $500 million to transform the property into a rock ‘n’ roll-themed casino resort.

Hard Rock Atlantic City President Matt Harkness, along with project partners Joe Jingoli and Jack Morris, spoke with the media at a billboard unveiling at the corner of Absecon Boulevard and Virginia Avenue. Absecon is one of the major roadways that brings travelers into Atlantic City, and five blocks down Virginia Avenue, guests arrive at the Hard Rock site.

“We’ve spent a lot of time taking signs down,” Harkness said of the demolition and renovation. “Now we are putting one up.”

Taj Disappearing

Once completed, Hard Rock Atlantic City will have “absolutely no resemblance” of its former shelf, which was developed by now-President Donald Trump and opened in 1990. At the time, Trump called it the “eighth wonder of the world.” When it opens, Hard Rock will return Atlantic City’s gaming market to eight casinos.

The Indian theme is quickly disappearing, as construction workers remove the countless turrets and minarets, fake gold décor, and Trump Taj Mahal signage.

Hard Rock initially committed $300 million to the renovation, but upon further inspection realized it would cost much more. Company Chairman Jim Allen said earlier this year that it “does us no good to put some guitars on the wall and new carpets.”

It’s a massive undertaking, completely renovating the more than 2,000 hotel rooms, building a larger Hard Rock Café restaurant space, plus a new concert arena. And it’s all slated to happen in just 15 months from the time Hard Rock finalized the acquisition.

“It’s a transformation every day,” Harkness told the Press of Atlantic City. “We are moving at 100 miles per hour.”

Hard Rock Vision

The Hard Rock execs said most of the demolition is complete, and the update of the building is beginning. The resort seeks to pay homage to New Jersey’s rich music history, and will feature a large collection of memorabilia from musicians and artists who have called the Garden State home.

The casino floor will feature 2,400 slot machines and 130 table games. It will mark the first gambling venue to open in Atlantic City since the short-lived Revel in 2012.

Aside from the aforementioned details, the company isn’t revealing much else about what the inside will look like. Harkness said simply, “We’re going to have the fun, relaxed vibe that we specialize in … but what you will see will be like nothing else anyone has seen along the east coast.”