This past week, Hard Rock International (HRI) announced via a marquee sign on its construction site that its much-anticipated Atlantic City hotel and casino will open next summer.

Should the property hit this deadline, Atlantic City will enjoy a summer of rejuvenation. Perhaps the sour memories of the Trump Taj Mahal will finally be put to rest.

“The newly reimagined Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City will be a destination within a destination, bringing visitors from across the world together to celebrate music and party like lead singers on world tour,” said Hard Rock’s website regarding the forthcoming property.

Taj property, existing Hard Rock cafe renovations

HRI has big plans for the former Taj as well as the company’s current Hard Rock Cafe on The Boardwalk.

The hotel’s rooms and vehicle turnaround will undergo “a completed renovation,” according to HRI. The property will feature updated meeting spaces to suit both big conventions and more intimate special events.

The Hard Rock casino will feature 2,400 slot machines and 130 table games, as well as a completely redesigned interior. According to HRI, the Hard Rock Cafe will get an upgraded event space, featuring a new stage and 400 seats.

HRI bought the Taj for $375 million after closure

By some measure, the Hard Rock’s future began in July 2016 when the Taj’s union workers went on strike after billionaire owner Carl Icahn refused to renegotiate vacation pay, health insurance, and sick-day benefits set during the casino’s 2014 bankruptcy proceedings.

Bleeding money and becoming an optics nightmare, the Taj closed in October 2016.

Around five months later, it was announced HRI bought the property for $375 million. To many, the purchase signaled the resurrection of a city beleaguered by financial woes that began in 2014 when five casinos closed.

Early estimates indicated the construction for the $500 million renovation would create 1,000 temporary jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs. At sale time, HRI provided details about the extent of the renovations, saying the opening target date was Memorial Day 2018.

That deadline has been pushed back, something that’s certainly not a surprise considering all the moving parts involved in performing a New Jersey casino renovation. HRI’s summer deadline should be taken seriously if for no other reason than the company’s vocal desire to lead the way in Atlantic City’s rebirth.

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J.R. Duren

About

A three-time winner of the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism contest, J.R. Duren works as a freelance writer with a focus on the NJ online gambling and online casino industry. He writes for a number of publications, including Bespoke Post, Our Amazing Norway, Barcelona Metropolitan, Snooth, and the Villages Daily Sun.