There is no doubt that there is a level of optimism in Atlantic City that locals have not felt in years.
In part, it comes from two shuttered casinos (Trump Taj Mahal and Revel Casino Hotel) undergoing massive renovation projects.
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino are busy getting ready to open their doors and welcome visitors once again this summer.
The Atlantic City economy is rebounding, and many people are giving credit to the casinos. Truth be told, the economy started recovering before the two new casinos even began their projects.
Economy was already on the road to recovery
The last few years have been a struggle for the local AC economy. The state and national economies have also suffered.
Those days appear to be in the past — at least for the foreseeable future.
On the local front, businesses are hiring and are preparing to grow.
The South Jersey Business Survey is a quarterly survey of business establishments put out by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. It reported that 47 percent of businesses expect an increase in activity during the first quarter.
The survey also reported that in the next six months:
- 38 percent of businesses expect to hire additional workers
- 62 percent of businesses are planning for increases in activity
- 59 percent of businesses expect higher sales
Additionally, businesses surveyed are optimistic about economic growth over the next few months, both locally and for the region.
But it’s not just businesses that are seeing a positive trend. The real estate market is also reporting positive indicators.
The median home price rose by 10 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period the year before. House sales increased by 15 percent, and houses are spending about 17 percent less time on the market.
The local and regional economic rebound is mirroring what is happening at the state and national level. Unemployment is low, and consumer confidence is high. Those two indicators will help Atlantic City bring more visitors to The Boardwalk.
Where is the optimism coming from?
It is easy to attribute the high level of optimism to Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino. And it is true: The casinos are contributing to the positive outlook residents and business owners are feeling.
It’s just that the two new casinos are not the only thing happening in the city.
The rebounding real estate market most likely prompted the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to auction off vacant properties recently. Vacant properties in the hands of new owners provide a ton of possibility for future growth.
There are other building projects, too. The Wheel, a 227-foot tall observation wheel on Steel Pier, and the brand new Bourbon Room located in The Showboat Hotel provide more activities for visitors.
A summer of celebrations and entertainment are getting residents and visitors alike excited about visits to The Boardwalk. Resorts Casino Hotel is celebrating 40 years with a summer-long party.
Plus, there are two grand openings to plan for. Hard Rock Atlantic City is already accepting reservations and will open its doors June 28. Visitors can expect activities and entertainment worthy of the global brand.
Ocean Resort Casino has not confirmed its opening date, but there is a rumor that it is also opening on June 28. The casino will open sometime this summer and recently provided a sneak peek into what guests can expect when it does.
Bottom line, the future is bright for Atlantic City
Yes, the state was forced to take over the financial management of the city in 2016. The positive economic indicators move Atlantic City one step closer to returning control of the city to local officials.
And yes, the two new casinos are contributing to Atlantic City’s economic recovery. The casinos are just one part of the puzzle, though.
It helps that the regional, state and national economies are showing positive signs. Consumer confidence and a lower unemployment rate translate into more spending on luxury items like entertainment.
There are more than 200 live shows scheduled in the next year. Add two brand new casinos, and a plethora of activities for young and old, and Atlantic City becomes a must-visit destination and New Jersey’s biggest success story.