Hard Rock Believes Brand Power Can Return Atlantic City To Glory Days

The talk around Atlantic City is that the East Coast’s gambling jewel is beginning a renaissance.

That rejuvenation of the city’s swagger and desirability gained a huge boost earlier this year when Hard Rock International announced its purchase of Trump Taj Mahal. Now, Hard Rock Chairman Jim Allen says he believes his company’s brand has enough influence to transform Atlantic City into a 24/7 destination.

“If we can’t do it right, we’re not going to do it,” said Allen at a press conference in April. “And the reality is ‘doing it right’ is doesn’t mean just one new carpet … it doesn’t mean just some new memorabilia. It means a complete renovation of all the guest rooms. We’ll completely redesign the casino floor to create a true entertainment destination and not just a gambling destination.”

$375 million going into renovation

While words and promises have been commonplace in the past two-and-a-half years, action has been relatively scarce.

That is, until this year’s spate of development plans, the greatest of which is Allen’s promise to invest nearly $400 million into the Taj. We’ve written about the details of the Hard Rock renovation in previous articles; expect to see completely redone guest rooms, a renovated casino floor, and entertainment seating for around 7,000 people.

Here’s an idea: Hard Rock is actually following through

Perhaps most interesting about the Hard Rock’s purchase of the Taj was Allen’s quick quip about follow-through.

“I think one of the things that’s so disappointing in many markets is when people announce a project and it never happens,” Allen said at the press conference. “This particular event today is not just about announcing the project is going to happen, but we’ve closed on the project.”

It’s not a stretch that Allen was making a subtle reference to Glenn Straub and other developers who’ve made promise after promise of re-openings and new projects but have failed to follow through.

In fact, in the same month in which the Hard Rock announced its purchase of the Taj, another developer that planned to turn the Atlantic Club into a water park called “Dolphin Village” announced its funding fell through.

In January 2016, another developer’s plans to buy the property and build a water park went down the drain when it couldn’t “generate the initial deposit funds needed” to finishing closing.

Image credit: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com