Hard Rock plans summer 2018 opening for Atlantic City hotel and casino

 (From left) Joe Jingoli, Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen and Jack Morris raise guitars at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City Press Conference  Wednesday in Atlantic City, N.J. (Jeff Fusco/AP Images for Hard Rock International)

(From left) Joe Jingoli, Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen and Jack Morris raise guitars at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City Press Conference Wednesday in Atlantic City, N.J. (Jeff Fusco/AP Images for Hard Rock International)

After years of witnessing casinos close, Atlantic City is finally preparing to see one open.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City plans to welcome gamblers, tourists, and overnight guests next summer, following what company officials said will be a $375 million renovation of the former Trump Taj Mahal.

Investor Carl Icahn closed the Taj Mahal last year during a worker strike.

At an event Wednesday inside the forthcoming resort, allusions to the state takeover of Atlantic City abounded.

“When you do the easy things the easy way much too long, it catches up to you. And it creates a whole bunch of challenges,” said Gov. Chris Christie, referencing the financial mismanagement that plagued city government in years past.

“Hard Rock’s willingness now to come in and significantly invest in Atlantic City shows you that they appreciate the hard things that have been done.”

The Christie administration took control of the financially struggling resort town in November, when the city was staring down a $100 million budget hole.

Since then, state officials have made controversial cuts to the police and fire departments.

But Atlantic City has also seen its credit rating upgraded and welcomed the announcement of several new development projects.

Hard Rock partner Jack Morris said the state takeover of Atlantic City likely made the new venture more attractive to investors in the project.

“It gave the financial world a much more comfortable feeling for Atlantic City once they had the backing of the state of New Jersey,” said Morris.

The new facility will include a casino, hotel, restaurant, and concert venue and employ 3,000 people, a company official said.

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