Resorts new center

Guests mingle in the new banquet room. Wednesday August 26 2015 New Conference Center at Resorts Atlantic City. (The Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)

ATLANTIC CITY — Mayor Don Guardian was on hand at Resorts Casino Hotel on Wednesday for the ceremonial opening of a nearly $5 million conference center at the city’s first casino.

It was the latest ribbon-cutting at a property that’s undergone near-constant expansion and renovation since it was bought in 2010 by developer and Atlantic City native Morris Bailey.

The space, with 15,000 square feet spread over 12 rooms, is the first of two moves Atlantic City is making this summer into the East Coast corporate meetings market. City and casino officials hope corporate meetings —think company retreats, trade-association meetings — can replace some of the revenue lost in recent years as casinos proliferated in the mid-Atlantic and hordes of daytrippers stopped placing bets in town.

Mark Sachais, Resorts’ vice president of hotel operations, said Wednesday that Resorts has booked about 12,000 room nights and generated about $2 million in revenue due to its new facility.

“Since 2011, we probably turned away $20 million in revenue because we didn’t have adequate meeting space,” he said.

When Resorts executives look across town, to the $126 million, 100,000-square-foot Waterfront Conference Center Harrah’s is raising in the Marina District, which will have its own ribbon-cutting next month, “we really don’t view what they’re building as direct competition,” he said. “Actually, we welcome it, because we think it’s going to bring more business to Atlantic City.”

Both projects received funding through the Investment Alternative Tax, which taps casino revenue to finance large development projects.

Harrah’s was approved for $45 million in IAT funding; Resorts got about $4.7 million.

The immediate goal, Harrah’s head Rick Mazer said Wednesday, is to convince meeting planners that Atlantic City has the sheer square footage necessary to be considered a corporate meetings heavyweight contender. Atlantic City needs to get on meeting planners’ list for consideration, he said. “The more there is to offer, the better it is for everybody. A rising tide lifts all boats.”

Next year, Harrah’s is scheduled to host what’s been cast by city officials as the ultimate coming-out party for Atlantic City as a meetings destination. The annual gathering of Meeting Professionals International, a corporate-meetings trade group, is scheduled for June.

Contact: 609-272-7239

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.

Load comments