Hard Rock Atlantic City Gets $400 Million Loan

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The Hard Rock Atlantic City Casino and Hotel has received a $400 million loan from its Florida-based parent, according to property documents. The loan will likely make up the bulk of financing for the redevelopment of the property formerly known as the Taj Mahal.

Hard Rock International, owned by the Seminole tribe of Florida, is the majority owner of the project in partnership with developers the Morris and Jingoli families. That consortium purchased the Taj earlier this year and said at the time they expected to invest more than $300 million “to purchase, substantially renovate and re-open the casino.” The mortgage loan was arranged at the end of the summer by a Seminole Gaming entity.

The Taj was previously owned by Carl Icahn’s Icahn Enterprises, which sold the property for $45 million in March.

It is not clear when the casino will open – an original target of Memorial Day seems to have been dialed back to sometime next summer. The new casino’s owners have also applied to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority for classification as an “Entertainment Retail District Project” that would allow CRDA and the project owners certain sales- and room-tax rebates. CRDA gave preliminary approval of the ERD in June but has not released details of the plan. CRDA spokeswoman Karen Martin did not respond to a request for details on Tuesday. Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen declined to comment on financing.

The project has been heralded by outgoing Gov. Chris Christie as key to the economic revival of Atlantic City, which saw five casinos (including the Taj) close between 2014 and last year. The city’s tax revenue plummeted as the casinos closed and state legislators introduced legislation to change the way the casinos pay taxes. It is not yet clear how the Hard Rock Casino – which would be Atlantic City’s biggest – will be taxed.

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