by Lisa A. Grimaldi | December 01, 2014
Why here?
Atlantic City's metamorphosis is in the works, as it transitions from a gaming-centric destination to one that offers groups superb entertainment, dining, shopping and natural beauty. Among some promising projects is Harrah's new conference center, being built in the Marina District.

New Name, New Budget

Meet AC is the new nonprofit group spun off from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to develop the destination's meeting, convention and incentive business. With a budget that has tripled from what it was under the old Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, Meet AC is headed by James Wood, former president and CEO of the Louisville (Ky.) Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Coming Soon

The fabled Steel Pier will reopen after a winter hiatus on March 29, 2015, followed by the debut of a new $14 million, 220-foot-high observation wheel adjacent to the pier, featuring 40 cars holding six to 10 people each.  

New Bait for Shoppers
The final phase of The Walk, the city's retail-outlet district, will debut next year. Among the new entries is a Bass Pro Shop, which features a 70,000-square-foot showroom for its outdoor clothes and gear.

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Local Update
Scheduled to open next August, Harrah's Atlantic City Waterfront Conference Center will have approximately 125,000 square feet of meeting and event space. At present, parent venue Harrah's Resort Atlantic City has 10 meeting rooms totaling 25,000 square feet.

The 2,133-room Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City currently is undergoing a $35 million renovation. The project includes the refurbishment of the 434 guest rooms in the resort's north tower, the expansion of Fin's restaurant, and the addition of a fitness center and retail shops. Also under construction is a new Boardwalk facade that will feature an interactive light-and-sound show. The upgrades are slated to debut in late 2015.

A $1 million meeting incentive initiative from Meet AC has been extended through 2016. The program is open to meetings new to Atlantic City, as well as groups that have not met there for at least three years. To qualify, business booked must take place by 2016 and generate a minimum of 500 room nights at an Atlantic City property; events must use the convention center or one of the hotels. Additional details are available at

The 10,500-capacity Boardwalk Hall will be hosting some notable entertainment next year, including the All Stars of Hip Hop Featuring Public Enemy; Fleetwood Mac and Linkin Park (January); Miranda Lambert with Justin Moore (March); and The Who, on its 50th anniversary tour (May). Meanwhile, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa will present Sarah McLachlan (March) and Jerry Seinfeld and Frankie Valli (April), while the Tropicana will have Natalie Cole (January), and Harrah's Resort will feature Chaka Khan (January). For a complete list of upcoming A.C. concerts, go to

Brookfield Asset Management has ended its plans to purchase the 1,400-room Revel Casino Hotel. TheToronto-based real estate firm won the auction for the property in October after bidding $110 million for the two-year-old hotel, which cost $2.4 billion to build. The company planned to reopen the property as a gaming resort. At press time, there was no news on other  potential buyers.

At press time, Trump Entertainment Resorts filed paperwork to close the bankrupt 2,010-room Trump Taj Mahal Casino Hotel this month, after earlier interest expressed by billionaire Carl Icahn to purchase the property came to naught.

The closed 1,300-room Showboat Atlantic City has been purchased by New Jersey's Richard Stockton College. The school plans to turn the shuttered casino into a satellite campus. At press time, no further details were available.