Hard Rock AC: Summer of 2018?
By all accounts, the former Trump Taj Mahal will open in the middle of next year. Hard Rock International bought the shuttered casino resort earlier this year, after it closed its doors in the fall of 2016. The company immediately revealed its plans to turn the Taj into an inviting and up-to-date resort, much like its other destination properties.
While the schedule can obviously suffer setbacks — it already has — the project has a lot going for it in terms of opening quickly.
- Hard Rock is experienced with getting resorts up and running. It has set its intentions, and it’s unlikely to miss the mark by much, unless it encounters serious problems.
- It’s not like Hard Rock was reinventing the wheel when it bought the Taj. The structure was already sound; it just needed a remodel and to be brought up to speed with the Hard Rock brand and feel.
- If Hard Rock wants to open in 2018 it really ought to do it for peak season; otherwise, it would probably have just made more sense to take its time and wait for early 2019.
So we have a pretty good idea of when Hard Rock will open. But we have far less insight about what’s going on down the Boardwalk.
TEN/Revel: Who knows?
The drawn-out saga that is TEN — formerly Revel — is pretty well-known already.
The gleaming AC property built for billions closed down soon after it was built. While the property was bought for pennies on the dollar soon thereafter, it’s sat vacant ever since.
But of late, there has been a lot of chatter that current owner Glenn Straub would be selling to a new company, one that might actually think about reopening TEN. In November, there were signs that a sale was moving forward, although that has not yet been confirmed.
If a sale actually did happen, TEN/Revel — or whatever the new owners call the resort — would also likely be able to open quickly. The property doesn’t need much — if anything — in the way of remodeling. The big needs would be branding and staffing.
But counting TEN as actually being sold is still a dicey matter. And the longer it takes for the sale to go through, the longer it is until a prospective opening.
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Conclusion: Put your money on Hard Rock
If we had a completed sale of TEN on the horizon, it would be a favorite to beat Hard Rock to an official opening. But given the backstory of the troubled resort, we definitely can’t count on anything until it’s out of Straub’s hands.
That’s why the stable, international company with definitive plans is the current heavy favorite to open up its NJ casino first.