Hard Rock International Will Invest in the Taj Mahal, Which Was Previously Owned by Trump. 

    Hard Rock International is determined to eliminate any features at the Trump Taj Mahal that might associate it with the current occupant of the White House, aiming to proceed with this transformation promptly. The acquisition of the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City by Hard Rock International was completed in March for a total sum of $50 million.

According to reports from casino.org, the management at Hard Rock has acknowledged the substantial expenses involved in the extensive renovation of the 2,010-room hotel and gaming facility, particularly the removal of the India-themed décor.

Expressing his disbelief at the anticipated costs, Hard Rock Chairman Jim Allen remarked, "Jesus, the amount of money we’re going to have to pay to get rid of all of those minarets and purple is beyond my comprehension!" Allen specifically referred to the onion-shaped crowns and embellishments present on the minarets of the Trump Taj Mahal.

In a bid to redefine the establishment, Hard Rock International is intensifying its efforts to usher in a new era for the iconic property.

Hard Rock Increases Ante

    Hard Rock executives have indicated that the initially allocated budget of $350 million for the transformation of the Trump Taj Mahal into a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will fall short. Despite securing the prime Atlantic City Boardwalk location at a remarkably low price, the Seminole Tribe of Florida's company anticipates the project's cost to escalate to a minimum of one billion dollars, according to statements from Jim Allen.

Allen emphasized the need for a comprehensive overhaul beyond superficial changes, stating, "It does us no good to hang some guitars on the wall and put down new carpets and say, ‘I can steal five or ten percent of the business from Resorts or Harrah’s.' That doesn’t help us at all."

The challenges ahead are formidable, as anyone familiar with the Taj Mahal's condition before its closure in October can attest. The casino's outdated dining areas, dimly lit gaming floor, and overall dilapidated atmosphere present a significant undertaking for the renovation project.

Despite the closure of five casinos in Atlantic City since 2014, signs of economic recovery are evident. The remaining casino licensees have witnessed positive trends, generating a total revenue of $816.7 million in the first three months of 2017. This reflects an 8.6 percent increase compared to the same period in the previous year, highlighting the resilience and potential prosperity of the city's gaming and hospitality sector.

In summary, the State of the Union Report for Atlantic City's casino industry depicts a landscape of transformation and recovery, with Hard Rock International facing the formidable task of revitalizing the Trump Taj Mahal into a flagship Hard Rock destination despite budgetary challenges.

The State of the Union Report

    The increased investment by Hard Rock and its commitment to reestablishing ties with the Local 54 casino workers union are met with enthusiasm by Atlantic City officials, anticipating positive impacts for the city. These developments hold significant promise for the region's economic landscape.

After acquiring the Taj Mahal from bankruptcy in February 2016, Carl Icahn, the previous owner, implemented measures such as reducing employee benefits while maintaining their existing pay levels. This move led to a strike by the Local 54 union, but Icahn remained steadfast in not yielding to their demands. The standoff eventually resulted in the closure and sale of the property, once hailed as the "eighth wonder of the world."

In a marked departure from this approach, Hard Rock's Chairman, Jim Allen, expresses a willingness to negotiate a new labor agreement with Local 54. Allen affirms, "There isn’t going to be any disagreement with Local 54. We’re going to get people back to work," demonstrating a commitment to resolving labor issues and fostering a positive working relationship.

The prospect of a renewed partnership between Hard Rock and the casino workers union not only signals positive developments for the Taj Mahal's workforce but also aligns with the broader goal of revitalizing the property and contributing to the economic well-being of Atlantic City.