by Terri Hardin | June 05, 2017
In Atlantic City, the pendulum that swings between leisure and meeting business is currently favoring meetings. "Convention clients routinely are pleased with the value they can receive mid-week from our casino properties," says Jim Wood, president and CEO of Meet AC. "Single-property clients can hold their meeting under one roof, plus they can take advantage of the amenities the casino properties have to offer."

Steve Van Der Molen, Caesars Entertainment's vice president of Meetings Operations, Atlantic City, agrees, adding, "The opening and closing receptions are always a 'wow' for attendees, a great way to reconnect and share experiences, share knowledge, accompanied with great entertainment and F&B."

Hoteliers are responding to the meeting trend by adding new meeting space and unique special event venues. In May 2016, a $3 million conference center opened at the rebranded 483-room Claridge -- A Radisson Hotel. Total conference space at the property is now 100,000 square feet, including a renovated ballroom. This new conference space, as well as Resorts' 15,000-square-foot conference center that opened last year; and Harrah's Resort Atlantic City's $125 million, 100,000-square-foot Waterfront Conference Center that debuted in the Marina area in 2015, will soon be joined by the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa's $1 million, 18,000-square-foot Central Conference Center.

The conference space openings are only exceeded by new dining options and special event venues, including Claridge's VUE Rooftop Bar & Lounge -- the only one in AC -- which opened last year. Among the latest, however, is Angeline by Iron Chef Michael Symon, which opened in May 2017 at the Borgata.

A homegrown university that once held classes in AC's Mayflower Hotel has returned in force to anchor the city's Chelsea neighborhood. The $210 million Gateway Project, which broke ground in April 2017, includes the $178 million Stockton University campus, corporate headquarters of South Jersey Gas, retail, residences, and more. Governor Chris Christie, who facilitated the ground breaking, noted, "This city is an extraordinary asset to the region and state." The campus is an important anchor of the project; when completed in 2018, it will feature a 500-student Residence Hall that will be just steps from the Boardwalk and the beach.

In addition to the campus, which will act as an incubator for new dining and entertainment venues, the university itself has many special event venues throughout AC, including the Noyes Museum of Arts and Noyes Arts Garage, Dante Hall Theater, and the 550-seat Stockton University Performing Arts Center.  

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This article appears in the June 2017 issue of Successful Meetings.