by Lisa Grimaldi | April 01, 2010

Local Update: The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has a new dining spot, Fornelletto Cuccina and Wine Bar. The restaurant is presided over by chef Stephen Kalt and features Southern Italian cuisine. Groups of up to 145 can be hosted. For smaller gatherings, there are three private dining rooms: Omaggio, which seats 40; Champenois, seating 20; and Prosecco, for up to 12.

Atlantic City Outlets-The Walk has completed its second phase of construction. Among the recent additions are the Nike Factory Store, Perry Ellis, Easy Spirit, Eddie Bauer Outlet, Jones New York, Big Dog Outlet and Totes/Sunglass World, which join J. Jill, Nautica, Fossil, Banana Republic, The Gap and Oshkosh. Groundbreaking for phase 3, which will add 30 to 40 new stores, took place in late 2009. A fourth phase of the shopping area still is in the planning stages.

Last month, billionaire investor Carl Icahn received interim approval from the New Jersey Casino Control Commission to buy the 2,127-room Tropicana Atlantic City Casino & Resort. Icahn agreed to acquire the property for $200 million in a bankruptcy auction last year. At press time, he was looking to acquire more bankrupt casino properties in the city -- the 2,032-room Trump Taj Mahal Casino Hotel, 904-room Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, and 728-room Trump Marina Hotel Casino. Real estate impresario Donald Trump also is seeking to purchase back the three properties, which currently are owned by Trump Entertainment Resorts. Trump resigned from his namesake company's board last year, prior to the company declaring bankruptcy.

Construction continues on Revel Enter­tainment's new, yet-to-be named $2 billion casino resort. Upon completion, the Boardwalk property will feature two 1,900-room towers, a 150,000-square-foot casino and a 5,500-seat theater. As of press time, a completion date for the project had not been set.

In February, MGM Mirage announced it was putting up for sale its 50 percent stake in the 2,000-room Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. Last year, the company put its $5 billion MGM Grand Atlantic City development on hold; the original plans called for construction to begin last year.

One Atlantic in The Pier Shops at CaesarsOne Atlantic, a sparkling
new event space and catering facility, opened last December on the top floor of The Pier Shops at Caesars. The venue, with 10,000 square feet of indoor event space and a 2,500-square-foot terrace, can accommodate 550 for seated meals and 1,000 for receptions.

Pinnacle Entertainment announced earlier this year that it will sell the 19-acre piece of land it planned to develop into a casino resort. The land is the site of the former Sands Casino, which Pinnacle demolished in 2007.

Mark O'Day
has joined the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority as national sales manager for the bureau's New York City office.

A new six-story parking garage is under construction at the foot of the Atlantic City Expressway. The facility, funded by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, is scheduled to open late this year and will have approximately 1,900 parking spaces.

The Atlantic City Convention
Center received a $1.5 million grant last fall from the state of New Jersey for construction of a single wind turbine to provide power to the facility. The financing comes from New Jersey's $73 million allocation of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, better known as the stimulus package. The convention center already has a green feature: Its roof houses a solar-energy system that provides as much as 26 percent of the facility's electricity.

Last winter, Atlantic City
Express Service (ACES) rail transportation began running Fridays through Sundays between New York City's Penn Station and Atlantic City. The train, run by Amtrak, is a joint venture of Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah's Resort Atlantic City and the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.
Last year, developers of the proposed Atlantic Beach Resort & Casino withdrew their application with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for a coastal building permit and put plans on for the property on indefinite hold. Penn National Gaming scrapped plans to build a casino, even after the city council had approved a zoning change to allow the property to be built on Route 30, about a mile from the Boardwalk.

Two airlines launched daily
service to Atlantic City International Airport last year: Spirit Airlines (from Boston) and AirTran (from Atlanta).

Atlantic City International
Airport is in the midst of a long-term improvement program that includes an expansion of gate capacity from seven to 14; construction of a $24.5 million, 1,400-space parking garage; cosmetic upgrades to the terminal, and a $5 million federal fund to expand the airport apron.