The former Trump Taj Mahal is receiving a $375 million facelift that will turn it into the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City. Officials anticipate the project to bring 1,000 construction jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs. The opening is anticipated for summer 2018.
“We have confidence in the fact that the Hard Rock will do this the right way and take a property that has a great tradition in this city and create an absolutely new tradition for the people of Atlantic City and the people who come here,” said Governor Chris Christie.
Dignitaries crowded into the Hard Rock Cafe for Wednesday’s press conference. While they were waiting for it to begin, the B Street Band, a Bruce Springsteen cover band, played. Steven Van Zandt himself, guitarist for the E Street Band, was on the side of the stage watching the performance.
Taj Mahal closed in 2016 after an extended standoffÊbetween owner Carl Icahn and Unite-HERE Local 54. Approximately 3,000 employees were laid offÊwith the closing of the Taj Mahal. The 17-acre property is located at the north end of the boardwalk, near the shuttered Showboat and Revel resorts. In addition to the transformation of the Taj Mahal into the Hard Rock, there are separate plans to open Showboat as an e-sports attraction and Revel as a resort called Ten.
“There’s more than 30 gaming gaming casinos now in the northeast, so you have to do something spectacular if you want to be successful so I think that’s what Hard Rock will bring to the table,” said Mayor Don Guardian.
The price Hard Rock paid Icahn has not been disclosed. According to Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International, Atlantic City cannot continue if each casino focuses on stealing customers from each other. The way to grow the city is to work together and make the city a destination.
“Atlantic City, no doubt, has had some challenging times but I think it’s very important for everyone to understand it is still the second largest gaming market in the United States,” said Mr Allen. “All of the operators that are currently operating here in Atlantic City are all profitable. No doubt there has been some downsizing in the market but the reality is, with the Hard Rock brand and its amazing ability, as I mentioned, to attract 100 million people on an annual basis, we’re very very confident we can grow the market.”
Mr Allen also points to the state’s takeoverÊof the city in November and how it has made it more attractive financially to invest.
“To all of the folks at Hard Rock – your investors, your partners, your employees that will be coming here – they should know that New Jersey is thrilled to welcome them, that we are thrilled to have you in Atlantic City and that we believe that hard rock’s investment here and your presence here is going to make Atlantic City an even more vital and more exciting resort and vacation stop for people not only in this region but around the country and around the world,” said Governor Christie.
The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino will have 2,400 slots and 130 table games.