Four Big Things Coming to Atlantic City in 2018
Following a strong finish in terms of casino revenue figures, including a record year for Internet winnings, Atlantic City has some big additions coming in 2018 that could further help it recover from a weaker economy and increased competition.
1. Hard Rock
On the casino front, the biggest development in 2018 will be the opening of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino at the former Trump Taj Mahal property.
The $500 million rebirth is expected to come to fruition in the summer, generating 3,000 permanent jobs. Hard Rock hopes to bring a gas station and convenience store to the property as well — the company opened a gas station at its Ohio casino in June of this year.
Chris Howard, executive director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, describes the upcoming Hard Rock launch as a "huge get" for Atlantic City.
"It just helps everybody; it helps all the bars, it helps all the restaurants," Howard said.
According to Hard Rock's website, plans call for 2,400 slots and 130 table games, a redesigned interior and new first-class food and beverage concepts.
2. The Beach at South Inlet
The high-end apartment complex will "blow people's hair back," according to Wasseem Boraie with the development team, based in New Brunswick.
Located across from the future Hard Rock and in-limbo Revel, the 250 luxury units are set for a late summer opening. The hunt for tenants should begin in March or April.
"This is really going to be a phenomenal product for the young folks that live in South Jersey that want urban options, and for older folks that are selling their homes and want to be closer to the beach and the casinos," Boraie said.
According to Howard, this will be the first market-rate residential complex opening in Atlantic City in years.
3. Observation wheel
Opening "soon," according to Howard, is a 227-foot tall observation wheel on Steel Pier.
"Once it's open, that'll be a year-round amenity," he said. "You'll be able to see the ocean, the skyline, you can see everything from up there."
The wheel's 40 gondolas are temperature-controlled. At capacity, the ride can hold 240 passengers. Riders will take five spins around the wheel, at three minutes apiece.
The project has been in the works since 2013.
Howard noted an extension of the boardwalk north of Revel could be completed in 2018 as well.
4. Gateway Project
Stockton University is expanding its presence into Atlantic City with a residential campus opening in the fall.
At the site of the old Atlantic City High School, the campus will include housing, a student center, a parking garage and an academic building.
"I think that this is seen as a potential foothold for even greater expansion in the future ... that might help transform Atlantic City from a town that's been identified as a gambling town into one that is both entertainment and education," said Levi Fox, owner and operator of Jersey Shore Tours.
The project will also host the new headquarters for South Jersey Gas.
Howard noted that beyond changing the overall vibe and landscape of Atlantic City, the new campus will provide the surrounding area a much-needed economic boost from students, staff and faculty.