While the Hard Rock kicked off the day’s festivities with a press conference followed by a DJ party and a guitar smash; owner Bruce Deifik, Atlantic City Mayor, Frank Gilliam, and celebrities Jamie Fox and Mark Wahlberg (pictured) were on hand to speak during a less glamorous but nonetheless exciting and jam-packed ribbon cutting ceremony for Ocean Resort.
Mayor Gilliam told the large crowd gathered at the grand staircase where a wall once separated the resort and the famed Boardwalk, that AC is “truly back in the game,” and that “This is truly a collaboration of folks, realizing that (this) is an important part of not only Atlantic City history, but world history,” according to NJ.com.
Much like the openings, the Division of Gaming Enforcement granted both Boardwalk properties approval to open within hours of each other on Wednesday, with the Hard Rock getting the official nod at 3pm and Ocean following at 5:45pm.
The city’s tallest building was acquired on January 4, 2018, when Florida real estate developer, Glenn Straub, who bought the $2.6 billion property in 2015 for a steal at $82 million, sold it to AC OCEAN WALK LLC, a group led by Colorado-based investor Deifik for $200 million.
Back in May, Deifik said that he had been thorough in his assessment of the former Revel casino and vowed to take care of all of the things that were considered to be problems during the property’s less than two-year operation before closing in 2014 after a second bankruptcy.
It appears that has been the case as the 60-floor building’s transformation includes a more customer-friendly experience such as the reconfiguration of the gaming floor to make navigation easier for customers, team ambassadors to help answer any questions customers might have and doing away with the two-night stay minimum requirement imposed by the former owner.
The 1,399-room hotel features six swimming pools, including a saltwater pool and an ocean-facing sun deck; 16 eateries, two from actor-producer Mark Wahlberg; children’s play/eat spaces; a renovated 5,500 seat Ovation Hall, a 32,000-square-foot spa including full-service salon; 7,000-plus person parking garage, 70,000 square feet of retail space, a Topgolf Swing Suite and from the former Revel, the Ivan Kane-operated burlesque club, Royal Jelly.
The 138,000 square foot casino offers a 7,500 square foot sports book – to be operated by William Hill US – right in the center of all the excitement, along with 99 table games, an 8-table poker room, 1,945 gaming machines and an Ocean Premier players’ lounge that overlooks the ocean.
Every level of the casino was reportedly crowded on opening day, with thousands of people packing bars, the sports book and riding the glass escalator.
Not just New Jersey eyes are on both Atlantic City casinos, as the industry waits to see if the luxury properties make good on their promise to breathe life back into the resort city that has struggled for so long.