By Jennifer N. Dienst, Contributing Editor
Through redevelopment and renovation, a star convention city shines brighter
The storm has passed and Atlantic City is pushing full steam ahead in reinventing one of the country's most beloved destinations for combining business and pleasure. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority along with local, state, and federal agencies have assessed the damage from Hurricane Sandy and proposed plans to replenish local beaches as well as to add new protective barriers, such as seawalls, to prevent future flooding and storm-related damage. Amid the rebuilding, the destination is also in the throes of a renaissance - new hotels, attractions, and other developments have opened within the past several years, many of them revolving around the destination's growing meetings and conventions industry, and more are in the works.
At the center of it all is the Atlantic City Convention Center. Large-scale trade shows, conventions, and conferences - they're all a perfect fit in one of the facility's many flexible spaces. The largest - 486,600 square feet of contiguous exhibit space on one level -can be split into five separate halls, and 45 meeting rooms totaling 109,100 square feet of space make breakout sessions a breeze. The entire facility is outfitted with state-of-the-art technology for voice, data, and video communications, and in-house catering, 29 convenient loading docks, and a 1,400-space indoor parking garage help please both exhibitors and attendees.
One of the Atlantic City Convention Center's best assets is its accessibility. The destination is within easy driving distance of one-third of the U.S. population. Whether it's by air, car, train, or bus, visitors can get there quickly via two nearby international airports, three major highways, and New Jersey Transit Rail. And when visitors arrive, getting around is just as easy. Atlantic City's Jitney mini-buses stop at every hotel and attraction, and taxis are readily available.
Atlantic City has a long list of new developments in the works or recently completed. The Golden Nugget Atlantic City finished a $150-million renovation last year, adding new restaurants, shops, gaming and entertainment areas, and a $6-million spa. In July 2012, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa finished refreshing all 1,566 of its guest rooms - a $50-million project that also included the hotel's corridors. The Garden Pier, home of the Atlantic City Historical Museum and Atlantic City Art Center, also underwent a $2.55-million renovation in 2012, receiving new facades, lighting, landscaping, and decking, as well as other upgrades. Meanwhile, Revel, Atlantic City's newest casino resort, opened last May with 1,900 rooms, two performance spaces, more than a dozen restaurants, two nightclubs, shops, a day club, a spa, a beach club, and a casino.
Other projects coming down the line include a new $35-million complex at Resorts Casino Hotel that will include a 400-seat Margaritaville Café, beachside LandShark Bar & Grill, Five O'Clock Somewhere Bar inside the hotel's casino, and more. The famous Steel Pier, built in 1898, is undergoing a $102-mil-lion, three-part renovation project that will include a new museum, a 2,000-seat ballroom, rides, restaurants, and nightclubs to offer families and visitors a year-round, non-gaming attraction. And in November, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved Caesars Entertainment's new convention center project - a 200,000-square-foot facility at Harrah's Resort Atlantic City designed to appeal to the corporate- and special-events market.
For more information: Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority - (609) 348-7100 or (888) 228-4748; atlanticcitynj.com
Atlantic City Convention Center Highlights
• The Atlantic City Convention Center offers 486,600 square feet of contiguous space, which can be split into five exhibit halls, as well as 109,100 square feet of meeting space and 32,000 square feet of prefunction space.
• There is no shortage of hotel rooms in Atlantic City - from the Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel to the most opulent of casino resorts, such as the 2,010-room Trump Taj Mahal.
• As one of the country's top capitals for entertainment, Atlantic City's cornucopia of diversions appeals to every whim, from 24/7 gaming and iconic boardwalk fun to miles of beaches and relaxing spas.
• Getting to Atlantic City is quick and easy, with nonstop and direct transportation options available from multiple major cities. Spirit airlines operates nonstop flights from Myrtle Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, Fort Myers, and Tampa, with seasonal service from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, and West Palm Beach.
Convention Center Specs
Directly connected to the
• Atlantic City Rail Terminal and 502-room Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel
Total contiguous exhibit space
• 486,600 square feet (divisible into five halls)
• 109,100 square feet
• 32,000 square feet
Indoor parking spaces
Committable hotel rooms
Total hotel rooms