New summer, new Tropicana.
A $50 million renovation of the resort that began in September is nearing conclusion, the latest triumph in a dramatic turnaround of a property that went from circling the drain to anchoring the Atlantic City Boardwalk.
When it’s all over, nearly 440 hotel rooms in the resort’s North Tower will have been revamped from top to bottom.
The gambling zone has undergone a major facelift, with the installation of a granite pathway and coffered ceilings. New televisions have been peppered among the table games, which were doing brisk business during a media tour of the property Wednesday.
Last week, Tropicana, with partner AtlantiCare, cut the ribbon on the most advanced open-to-the-public gym in Atlantic City, replete with state-of-the-art equipment (the leg-press mac-hine alone, an AtlantiCare executive said, cost $9,000).
And next week, the resort will begin its recurring light show, part of a newly-tricked-out Boardwalk facade.
For at least a year, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian has been urging the city’s casinos to beef-up their nongambling amenities to make the city more attractive to a wide spectrum of tourists.
It’s something Tropicana started doing years ago, though, before “diversify” became the watchword on the Boardwalk.
The resort, with its Havana-themed wing The Quarter, is arguably the most diverse resort in the city, boasting dozens of restaurants, shops and nightclubs and an IMAX movie theater.
“This isn’t anything new for us,” Tropicana Entertainment CEO Tony Rodio told reporters. “We have more nongaming amenities, more nongaming variety, I think, than any other property in Atlantic City,” he said.
But things weren’t always so sunny at Tropicana, which Wall Street mogul Carl Icahn’s company bought after a 2009 bankruptcy auction.
In 2007, when Tropicana was being run by a different company, state regulators declined to renew the property’s casino license after widespread complaints about service, sanitation and regulatory compliance.
Contact Reuben Kramer: