NEW YORK — The more than $500 million Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City will open June 28 and feature a summer lineup of more than 60 live entertainment acts, executives announced during a press conference Wednesday.

Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen was joined by several of the principal partners at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square to announce the opening date and the entertainment lineup, which includes comedian Amy Schumer and artists Blake Shelton, Third Eye Blind, Kid Rock, Steely Dan, Stone Temple Pilots, Counting Crows, Florida Georgia Line, Bush and Frankie Valli.

Allen said the new Boardwalk destination will have nearly 300 nights of live entertainment in its first year.

“We think it’s a great start,” Allen said. “It demonstrates our commitment that we are about entertainment and not just about (a) casino. But, certainly, we look forward to continuing to book more acts and even larger acts. There’s some amazing acts on that list, but, certainly, I think the best is yet to come.”

While Allen acknowledged the “hard work is definitely still in front of us,” as far as hitting the scheduled opening date he said it was “100 percent set in stone.”

“Since the day we announced the purchase of (the property), we were certainly looking forward to letting the general public know that we’re going to live up to our commitments (of opening in summer 2018),” he said.

The press conference in Times Square was accompanied by two satellite celebrations at Tanger Outlets The Walk in Atlantic City and the Hard Rock Cafe in Philadelphia.

The Hard Rock Preview Center at Tanger was open for media, VIPs and guests interested in the announcement. Hard Rock employees registered visitors for the casino’s Wild Card Rewards program.

Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam said having the Hard Rock brand, which brings international recognition, is a “game-changer” for the resort.

“Hard Rock is going to be phenomenal for Atlantic City,” Gilliam said on Wednesday evening. “Not because it’s another casino but because their culture, what their brand is about, is what this city needs.”

Miss America Cara Mund attended the Atlantic City event, along with City Councilmen Marty Small and Kaleem Shabazz, Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo, Atlantic County Freeholders Frank Formica and Ernest Coursey, and Egg Harbor Township Mayor James “Sonny” McCullough.

“It’s a great day in the city of Atlantic City,” Small said. “The most important thing, in addition to Hard Rock instilling an invested confidence, is the benefit our residents will get with the much-needed jobs.”

Atlantic City resident Stacy Weeks, who worked at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort when it opened in 1990 with her sister Monica, said the reopening of the casino is “well overdue.”

“Atlantic City needed this,” she said. “We’re moving on (from the Taj). It’s not sad. It’s a new chapter, and I can’t wait to see it.”

When the property reopens, it will offer 2,000 guest rooms and suites, more than 20 restaurants and bars, a revamped Etess Arena with a seating capacity of 7,000, a theater with a capacity of more than 2,000 people, a 120,000-square-foot casino floor, 2,100 slot machines and 120 table games.

On Wednesday, crews continued to work on the former Taj, located on the Boardwalk between Vigirinia and Maryland avenues. The iconic Hard Rock guitar and signage had not been placed on the building Wednesday, but approvals and variances are in place.

“It’s been a little surreal. Up until now it was really take what was in front of you every day,” said Joe Jingoli, who is the lead developer and property partner, at the New York press conference. “This (day) was really like looking up and saying, ‘Oh my God, this is really happening.’ It’s just incredible.”

Jingoli added he is proud to be involved with the rebirth of Atlantic City following an economic downturn that included five casinos closing and the state taking over the city’s finances.

“Atlantic City is my second home,” Jingoli said. “Everybody loves a comeback, and with the Seminole nation supporting us and putting the wind in our sails, I think it’s amazing what one project is going to do. The Hard Rock A.C. is going to be amazing.”

Staff Writers Lauren Carroll and John DeRosier contributed to this report.

Staff Writer

I cover Atlantic City government and the casino industry since joining The Press in early 2018. I formerly worked as a politics & government reporter for NJ Herald and received the First Amendment: Art Weissman Memorial NJPA Award two years in a row.

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