Hard Rock International has increased planned investment for the redevelopment of the former Trump Taj Mahal casino resort in Atlantic City, CEO Jim Allen revealed at the recently held East Coast Gaming Congress.
The internationally recognized owner of themed cafés, restaurants, and casinos has decided to spend $500 million instead of the initially announced amount of $350 million on rebranding and redeveloping the shuttered casino property.
Trump Taj Mahal was opened in 1990 by current US President Donald Trump. At the time, the venue was one of the largest, if not the largest, of its kind. The former casino mogul, now the States’ top official, spent over $1.2 billion on the construction of the hotel and casino resort that distinguished itself from its counterparts on the Atlantic City Boardwalk with its minarets and other lavish fragments of an exotic culture.
Trump Taj Mahal barely escaped bankruptcy in 2015, but was purchased by New York investor Carl Icahn. The property eventually closed doors last fall, after a prolonged workers’ strike. Employees at the property picketed it for over a month, demanding fairer employment contracts. Mr. Icahn and the workers, who were members of UNITE HERE Local 54 labor union, failed to reach an agreement on the matter, and the billionaire investor decided to close the property.
Hard Rock International bought Trump Taj Mahal in March for around $50 million, or just a smattering of Mr. Trump’s initial investment into the property.
The redeveloped casino resort is slated to swing its doors open for visitors and guests in the summer of 2018. Hard Rock International has previously revealed that Trump Taj Mahal’s most distinctive features will be replaced by ones that best represent the Hard Rock brand.
Mr. Allen said during the East Coast Gaming Congress that by entering Atlantic City’s casino market, they do not aim to cannibalize existing businesses, that is steal customers from other properties, but to attract more potential clients to the city.
Analysts believe that the Hard Rock brand is capable of bringing customers that look for something more than just gambling, given its focus on rock and roll and everything that makes the rock and roll culture so attractive.
The Hard Rock International CEO also commented on Trump Taj Mahal’s issues with workers, pointing out that the redeveloped Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City will not quarrel with its employees, but will offer them fair contracts.
The casino executive revealed that he has spoken with UNITE HERE Local 54 President Bob McDevitt and the two of them have established a “constructive relationship” that is hoped to result in a contract with the labor union.