Harrah’s Announces Plans for New Convention Center

Harrah's Property in Atlantic City, which is soon to be home to the new convention center.

(from Venues Today, October 17, 2012) Atlantic City will soon be welcoming a new convention center to town. Casino operator Caesars Entertainment recently announced plans to build a $134-million conference center in hopes to lure more meetings and conferences to the area. The conference center will be built on Caesars Entertainment’s Harrah’s property, which is approximately one mile from the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk.

The new Harrah’s convention center will break ground in January 2013 and will open its doors by July 2014. It will total 100,000 sq. feet over two floors. The announcement of the details for the project was released at a Casino Reinvestment Development Authority meeting, where the hotel chain asked the authority for $45 million in commitments. The remaining $89 million will be covered by Caesars Entertainment.

Atlantic City has been a town of little growth in the past decade, but it will soon see that change as the new convention center is the second largest casino-related announcement in recent months. The Revel resort, casino and hotel opened as the tallest tower in Atlantic City this past April. Designed by Arquitectonica and Sceno Plus, the hotel includes a 5,050-seat arena and a 700-seat theater.

Atlantic City is also home to the Atlantic City Convention Center, which tends to pursue trade shows and exhibitions over meetings and conferences. Greg Tesone, General Manager for the Atlantic City Convention Center, is not concerned about competition from the new Harrah’s convention center and admits the market needs more meeting space.

“We’ve got a lot of hotel properties that compete with each other, but from a venue and convention center standpoint, we think that more meeting space anywhere on the island helps Atlantic City achieve its critical mass,” Tesone said, “if you look at similar cities, like Las Vegas, which is much bigger but similar in its business model, an uptick in meeting space has generally been good for everyone.”