Hard Rock Atlantic City will reopen to guests next Memorial Day weekend should the company’s $500 million renovation stay on schedule.
That’s according to company officials who say the facelift will transform the former Trump Taj Mahal property into a rock ‘n’ roll-themed casino resort.
Hard Rock, owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, purchased the shuttered Taj Mahal in March for just $50 million, pennies on the dollar compared to what President Donald Trump paid to build the resort in the late 1980s. The former real estate developer and casino businessman turned politician and now president spent over $1 billion constructing the Boardwalk venue.
Appearing before the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), Hard Rock International Senior VP of Design and Construction Joe Emanuele revealed, “We hope to start demolition by next month and full construction by August.”
Upping the Ante
Hard Rock had initially planned to invest $300 million refreshing the Taj, but upon further inspection, realized more capital was required to rid the Indian-themed décor.
“The amount of money we’re going to have to spend to remove all those minarets and all that purple,” Hard Rock Chairman Jim Allen said last month. “Jesus! What were we thinking?”
Set on 17 acres between Resorts and the Showboat, Hard Rock Atlantic City will offer 2,400 slot machines and 130 table games when it reopens. It will also feature two separate concert venues that will be able to accommodate over 7,000 people.
The Hard Rock Café, which has been in operation at the Taj since 1996, will also receive a slight makeover. The rock memorabilia restaurant will be expanded to 400 seats.
CRDA Chairman Robert Mulcahy celebrated Hard Rock’s commitment to Atlantic City by saying, “The planned renovations will transform the 4.2 million square feet of defunct casino hotel space into a state-of-the-art casino, hotel, retail, dining and entertainment facility, increasing employment opportunities and strengthening Atlantic City and New Jersey’s economies.”
Atlantic City Investments
Hard Rock isn’t the only casino and hospitality company that is bullish on Atlantic City. With total gaming win up over 11 percent year to date (with 2016 Taj revenue subtracted), a renewed sense of enthusiasm has descended on the New Jersey town.
Executives from MGM Resorts and Caesars recently met with Governor Chris Christie (R) to discuss further investments in Atlantic City. Though details were scarce during the governor’s press conference with MGM CEO Jim Murren and Caesars boss Mark Frissora, both executives revealed their companies would be devoting additional resources to their Atlantic City properties in the coming months.
The biggest question on the Boardwalk is what will happen to the shuttered Revel, now known as TEN. Owner Glenn Straub is refusing to play by the city’s rules and obtain a gambling permit to reopen the casino.
The $2.4 billion resort is a constant reminder of the economic turbulence Atlantic City endured over the last decade. A total of five casinos closed between 2014 and last fall, including two former properties owned by President Trump, Trump Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal.