Event Venues, Additions & Renovations
TEAMS in A.C.
'21 Conference & Expo
, the world’s leading conference and expo for the sports-event industry, will be held at the Atlantic City Convention Center, September 27-30, 2021. Visit Northstar Meeting Group's website
for updates on this prestigious industry event.
• Atlantic City’s casino hotels reopned this month, following closure during the pandemic. In addition to following COVID-19 cleaning and disinfection protocols set by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, operators must limit casino guest counts to no more than 25 percent of their capacity and prohibit smoking and drinking on the casino floor. All guests wear must wear masks in the casino and in all public areas of the property. Indoor dining and beverage/bar service are currently unavailable, but all nine properties offer one or more alternative foodservice options such as rooftop dining, food trucks, takeout, curbside pickup and/or room service from on-site restaurants.
• Showboat Hotel owner and real estate developer Bart Blatstein plans to break ground on a $100 million indoor waterpark in 2020. The waterpark would be located on the site of what is currently a parking lot between the Showboat and the Ocean Casino Resort and would be connected to the Showboat’s Premier Lite tower, which is set to undergo a complete renovation. The waterpark will include water slides, pools, lazy rivers, food and beverage outlets, retail stands and lounge areas.
• At the end of April, Caesars Entertainment Corp. and VICI Properties Inc. sold the 1,254-room Bally’s Atlantic City to Twin River Worldwide Holdings Inc. for $25 million. The Wild Wild West casino area and the Book sports-betting facility will be transferred to Caesars Atlantic City. To offset this, Twin River plans to apply for a license to build its own sportsbook and launch online sports betting and gaming.
• Meet AC has appointed Larry Sieg as its new president and CEO. Sieg will replace Jim Wood, who stepped down as the head of the CVB at the end of 2019. Sieg brings more than 30 years of experience to the new role. He currently serves as director of communications and marketing for the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and previously worked at the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority, which was dissolved in 2011.
• Meet AC offers a number of digital tools designed to help planners become better acquainted with the destination and the CVB’s services. A virtual reality experience tool offers multiple options, from a tour of Atlantic City properties to surfing in the Atlantic Ocean, while a YouTube channel features podcasts captured throughout the city, along with client testimonials and behind-the-scenes footage of past events. Also available are a meeting planning guide that contains specs for Atlantic City’s venues, a convention services kit, and an Atlantic City Convention Center event planning guide where planners can find information about holding future events at the venue.
• The state’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority has approved a budget of up to $1 million to upgrade portions of the façade of Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall. The project includes work on the building’s façade pylon, structural and damaged stone masonry. Two nonfunctioning light towers atop the venue, which are of no historical significance, will be removed. Completion timing is to be determined. Boardwalk Hall will remain open during the renovation.
retail and entertainment complex is back in the hands of Caesars Entertainment.
Real estate developer Bart Blatstein
has sold the property to a Caesars subsidiary for an undisclosed price,
reversing a transaction completed five years ago when he acquired it from the
hospitality giant. Caesars has not yet announced plans for Playground Pier,
while Blatstein will now focus his attention on returning gaming to the
Showboat Atlantic City.
• Meet AC, the city’s convention & visitors bureau, booked a record 394,029 hotel room nights in 2019, injecting more than $400 million into the local economy. This year is expected to bring more of the same, as Meet AC expects to book more than 375,000 room nights in 2020 and maintains a “stretch goal” of 400,000 booked room nights.
• More dining and retail outlets are coming to Atlantic City International Airport. As part of a plan approved in late 2019 by the South Jersey Transportation Authority, a Hudson concession stand and a Brookstone store selling travel accessories and other items will open in 2020 in the pre- security checkpoint space. A Dunkin’ outlet and a second Hudson concession stand will be added beyond the airport’s screening area. The airport will also add three dining outlets: two Great American Bagel & Bakery shops and a BeachHouse Restaurant & Bar.
• Harrah's Resort is spending $24 million to refresh the 416-room Marina Tower, which will be renamed the Laguna Tower once complete. The project calls for an updated design, new furniture and remodeled bathrooms. The rooms were expected to debut in April 2020, but have been pushed back to a later date due to a statewide halt on all nonessential construction. The renovation follows a full transformation of the 507-room Coastal Tower last year.
• The Sea Spa at the Tropicana Atlantic City has reopened. Originally part of the 330-room Chelsea Hotel, which was acquired by the Tropicana last year, the 10,000-square-foot spa combines traditional services with a holistic approach to wellness and offers pampering in eight private treatment rooms, a couples’ room, and a solarium.
• Historic Gardner’s Basin—home to the Atlantic City Aquarium as well as to several small businesses and recreational amenities—is getting a facelift. A $1 million grant from the New Jersey Green Acres Program will be used to pay for restroom and maintenance building renovations, LED lighting, parking lot upgrades, and a public address system. New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs is chipping in an additional $1 million to address improvements to the Gardner’s Basin marina.
• Fins Bar, billed as "a whole new way to experience the Boardwalk" in Atlantic City, opened in May at the Resorts Casino Hotel. Designed as an outdoor component of the property’s LandShark Bar & Grill, Fins Bar features a 2,300-square-foot boardwalk deck, as well as an additional 150-seat bar, cozy fire pits, outdoor speakers and string lights. Live entertainment, including performances by regional bands, is presented seven days a week on a portable stage.
• Following the debut of its new Moneyline Bar & Book —
which offers a 40-foot wide LED video wall and six
betting windows and a
35-foot-long bar with 19 built-in slot machines — Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa spent $14 million to add a Lobby Bar and upgrade its 312 Fiore Suites guest rooms. Renovations to the Fiore Suites wrapped up in early 2020. The rooms were re-designed in a palette of blue and neutral shades and outfitted with stone countertops, gold-dusted sconces, custom entertainment centers and USB charging ports. The 1,700-square-foot Lobby Bar, which debuted in late 2019, features three large-screen television sets, coffee service with Lavazza products, and a curated tapas and cocktail menu, along with a separate VIP check-in area, modern lounge seating and a polished “speakeasy” ambiance. On weekends, it transforms into a piano bar offering live entertainment.
• A $10 million renovation of the lobby and atrium at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall has been completed. Upgrades include replacement of the venue's escalators and the addition of a set of stairs leading from the main lobby to the first floor. Interactive video boards also were installed. The remodeled lobby features a new exhibit, titled the "Atlantic City Experience," that takes visitors through the city's diverse history.
• The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City is the newest property in town. The resort, formerly the Trump Taj Mahal, underwent a $500 million, head-to-toe transformation into a shrine to rock art and memorabilia. The gaming property offers a revamped casino with 2,200 slot machines and 120 table games; 150,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and the Hard Rock Café (relocated from its former site on the Boardwalk). New dining outlets include the Sugar Factory, a cosmopolitan casual dining spot and confectionery, and Kuro, an upscale Japanese eatery. Other new features include a lobby lounge. The property's Mark G. Etess Arena, a holdover from the Taj Mahal days, remains and has been expanded to seat 7,700.
• The Atlantic City Convention Center has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification in accordance with the LEED rating system developed by the U.S. Green Buildings Council. Steps taken at the center that led to the certification included replacing all metal-halide fixtures in the exhibit halls with LED fixtures, reducing lighting loads by nearly 63 percent. Last year, more than 2.9 million kWh of electricity (roughly 13 percent of the building’s total energy) were produced from solar panels. Operation of lighting and HVAC systems was made more efficient by minimizing their use during non-peak times, and improved operating efficiency of climate controls was achieved during changing seasons. Finally, efforts undertaken in 2018 allowed more than 158.2 tons of recycled materials from the facility to be diverted from landfills, and 9,583 pounds of lamps, ballasts, batteries and electronics were recycled.
• In other ACCC news, a $9.1 million renovation of the facility's 32 restrooms has been completed. The project included the installation of new
lighting, auto-flush toilets, porcelain-accented flooring, and glass and
porcelain wall tiles. New vanities with long trough sinks, quartz surfaces,
backlit mirrors, and automated soap dispensers and faucets have been added as
well. Modern entry portals and signage now direct visitors to each restroom.
• Luxor Capital Group, a New York City-based hedge fund which purchased the Ocean Resort Casino, has been granted
a license to own and operate the property.
The gaming resort sits on 20 acres of beachfront and accommodates groups in 160,000 square feet of indoor meeting space and 90,000 square feet of outdoor function space. Amenities include 16 restaurants, a 5,500-seat entertainment venue, a 138,000-square-foot gaming floor, a state-of-the-art sportsbook, a 40,000-square-foot Exhale spa, six swimming pools and the world's largest Topgolf Swing Suite virtual-golf facility. A new 1927 Lounge & Speakeasy has also been added to the property. Under Luxor’s ownership, the resort will be enhanced to the tune of $70 million. In addition to the construction of a “long-awaited buffet,” improvements will involve wrapping up incomplete work that had been underway on 12 floors in the middle of the hotel tower, which will add another 500 guest rooms to the existing 1,399 rooms. Casino enhancements and other improvements also are on the drawing board.
• About eight miles from Atlantic City on 670 acres along Reed’s Bay in Galloway, the historic Seaview Dolce Hotel & Golf Club has reopened following a multimillion-dollar renovation. All 296 guest rooms and suites, as well as the lobby, public spaces, meeting and event spaces, and the Grille Room restaurant now feature art deco design elements combined with cool blues and modern finishes. Part of the Dolce Hotels and Resorts Collection by Wyndham, the property offers 27,000 square feet of event space, including 21 meeting rooms, plus two championship golf courses, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts and an Elizabeth Arden Red Door spa.
• Over the past five years, Resorts Atlantic City
has completed more than $100 million in renovations to reposition and
transform the property into a vibrant destination with offerings beyond
casino gaming. Major expansion milestones included the $35 million Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville and Landshark Bar & Grill Entertainment Complex,
a first-of-its-kind iGaming Lounge dedicated to the online gaming
experience, and a completely remodeled casino floor adding more than 800
new slot machines.
• Atop the Playground at Caesars restaurant and shopping complex, the independently owned One Atlantic offers sweeping views of Atlantic City's beach, Boardwalk and skyline through floor-to-ceiling windows and an open-air terrace. More than 10,000 square feet of flexible event space accommodates groups of 50 to 1,200 people for cocktail receptions, 30 to 500 for seated luncheons and dinners, and 30 to 750 in theater- or classroom-style configuration.
• An atmosphere reminiscent of Old Havana — complete with period décor, exotic tropical foliage and music — creates a backdrop for colorful events at Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar. A buyout of the restaurant provides space to accommodate up to 850 people. Choose from several different entertainment options, including choreographed floor shows, salsa lessons and appearances by professional dancers, a cigar roller or a rum expert.
• The 23,100-square-foot Adrian Philips Theater at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall features a stage with a 48-foot proscenium opening, as well as an open-air loggia that overlooks the beach and Boardwalk. With a capacity ranging from 1,000 people in rounds to 3,200 in theater-style seating, the facility is suitable for a variety of functions, including theatrical events, concerts, galas and banquets.
• Hold your event in a tented space perched 1,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean. The Ocean Reef Oasis at the Steel Pier serves a wide variety of fare, with catering packages that include everything from barbecue favorites, sliders, crab cakes and a clam bake to Italian specialties and freshly carved roast beef. Groups using the venue can also enjoy optional extras, like bonfires on the beach, assorted rides and amusements, and helicopter journeys.