The final steel beam of the $125.8 million Waterfront Conference Center at Harrah's Resort Atlantic City was signed and installed yesterday, on a wet and windy Wednesday afternoon, signifying the completion of the building's structure. Although the weather may have been bleak, the mood was sunny, as Atlantic City officials say the meetings industry is key to the diversification the destination needs.
"With $16 billion being spent on meetings in the Northeast and Atlantic City only capturing one percent, this is exactly what the future of Atlantic City, the future of gaming, the future of Caesars Entertainment, is all about," said Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian. "This new conference center is a game changer--it's where Atlantic City has to move. A bit of good news finally for Atlantic City."
Related: See Michael Massari preview a blueprint of the ballroom at the Waterfront Conference Center
"When this is done, it will be the largest meetings facility from Baltimore to Boston," explained Michael Massari, vice president of meetings sales and operations-Las Vegas, Caesars Entertainment. "It has two 50,000-square-foot ballrooms that each divides into 29 individual sections over 300 separate meeting room accommodations. Combine that with 2,500 hotel rooms that exist here at Harrah's Atlantic City and it becomes the largest facility of its kind from Baltimore to Boston. There are so many Fortune 500 companies in the area that do large product launches and have national sales meetings and are forced to go to Dallas or Orlando or Las Vegas. These are all fine destinations but we want to see them be able to stay here at home in the fine state of New Jersey."
He adds that Harrah's is so committed to meetings that it has invested over $125 million in this new conference center. This is in stark contrast to the $110 million that the shuttered Revel was recently sold for.
At present, there is $6 million worth of business booked at the Waterfront Conference Center, with $8 million pending, according to Rick Mazer, regional president and general manager of Harrah's Resort. The first corporate group will be meeting in the center in mid-September 2015.
"This is the most technologically advanced conference facility in the region and certainly one of the largest. We can host general sessions for up to 5,000 delegates. We'll offer them a range of activities in this beautiful waterfront center that I think is unmatched in the area. They'll be able to eat, sleep, party, meet, work, and shop all under one roof," said Gary Loveman, the CEO of Caesars Entertainment. "We can offer newness, innovation, and a state-of-the-art facility and offer a very reasonable price with the inventory we have that is underutilized from Sunday through Thursday."