The Hard Rock International franchise, purchased by the Seminole Tribe of Florida in December 2006, sought a permit in June to build one of two new small oceanfront casinos as part of a pilot program, which allows approved casinos to open with just 200 rooms before expanding to reach the 500-room benchmark normally required. The program was created to revive the ailing Atlantic City market and intended to attract a younger customer base with more disposable income.
The three-person commission unanimously voted in favor of granting the six-month extension on March 14, reported The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Hard Rock said it requires more time to secure essential permits for a construction project on the coast through the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. The project also requires clearance from the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which oversees development and planning in the Atlantic City Tourism District.
Had the company been denied an extension, it would have had to pay a $1 million bond on March 15. According to the original plan, the gaming franchise was also required to apply for a casino license by March 22, start work by July 15, and complete the first phase of the $465 million project by July 30, 2014.
The opening date for the resort is now slated for January 2015, said Nicholas Casiello, attorney for AC Gateway.
The Hard Rock plans to debut its new resort with 208 hotel rooms; a second phase of construction will increase that number to 850 rooms total, said CCC Chair Linda Kassekert. Initially, the project will include a 54,800-square-foot gaming hall, the smaller of the two hotel towers, a large showroom, restaurants, a Hard Rock museum and a 2,400-space garage, reported the Inquirer. Phase II will add 27,500 square feet of gaming space, 642 rooms and 600 parking spaces, in addition to other amenities. The project will eventually include a Hard Rock Cafe, a spa, a fitness and recreation area with an indoor pool, and an outdoor pool terrace.