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Thinking big and seeking to appeal to untapped markets, Atlantic City is reaching high with game-changing projects and visions that look to spice up the resort.

Caesar’s Entertainment took a giant step towards broadening the city’s appeal to the larger corporate meeting and special event market on November 20 when the gaming company received approval from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) for $45 million in financing for its planned 200,000-square-foot convention center at Harrah’s.

Bringing a dash of Las Vegas-style glitz and glamour and located on the southwest side of the property, the convention center project’s upscale design will feature large glass windows overlooking the bay, two floors complete with 100,000 square feet of meeting/conference space and the opportunity to attract a new type of clientele that is currently underserved in Atlantic City.

“Atlantic City is under-supplied in its meeting space and what is missing is a mid-sized conference center that would expand our offerings,” said Jeff Vasser, president, Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority. “We have a state-of-the-art convention center with 500,000 square feet of exhibit space and great hotel meeting space. This project is another tool in our toolkit to offer planners and drive incremental business to Atlantic City.”

As Atlantic City seeks to attract more visitors beyond the traditional gambling market, development like the Harrah’s convention center are geared towards a marketplace that that wields tremendous economic potential for Atlantic City and the region.

While the current convention center mainly attracts tradeshows and large-scale conventions to its facility, the proposed Harrah’s addition would strive to pull in a corporate meeting and special event segment of the industry that Atlantic City currently misses out on.

The Harrah’s convention center would fulfill the wishes of many groups that have expressed a desire to come to Atlantic City, but only if the proper facilities are in place.

It is also envisioned that the development of the Harrah’s convention center will spur additional development throughout the city and bring with it increases in revenue and ratables at a time when casino gaming revenues have been steadily declining and new non-gaming attractions and businesses are sought to energize the market.

Funding from New Jersey’s Economic Development Authority will give Harrah’s Resort $24.1 million in tax reimbursements over 20 years and represents a key piece of the project’s multifaceted public and private financing.

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