Atlantic City's Borgata casino plans outdoor concert hall for 5,000, new nightclub

The Borgata casino will open an outdoor concert hall this summer and a new nightclub this fall.

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The casino is getting $14 million from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority toward the $15 million total cost of both projects. Atlantic City's eight casinos are obligated to make investment alternative tax payments toward redevelopment projects. The $14 million approved on Tuesday represents current and future payments from the Borgata.

The projects illustrate two trends underway in what until recently was the nation's second-largest gambling market after Nevada, but which has slipped into 3rd place behind Pennsylvania.

They are the latest examples of individual casinos striking out on their own to host and promote events now that an agency that promotes the resort is about to be eliminated. And it also lets the Borgata reclaim some of its investment alternative tax payments before they can be diverted to help the city's struggling finances or to attract new development in the city under an Atlantic City rescue plan being considered by state officials.

Borgata executives say that is not the reason for the projects, which they envision to help the city's top casino retain leadership of the Atlantic City casino market.

"We are thrilled with the opportunity to enhance and grow our already tremendous entertainment offerings through funding by the CRDA and a wonderful partnership with (concert promoter) Live Nation," said casino president Tom Balance.

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Borgata Festival Park will hold 5,000 standing room-only fans and will include an outdoor bar. The casino eventually plans to incorporate it into outdoor food and beverage festivals as well.

Its debut concert will be June 13, but acts have not yet been announced.

Borgata also is developing a new nightclub that it has not yet named, due to open by the end of this year. New York architectural firm Josh Held Design will lead the venture. The firm has created projects including Marquee Nightclub in New York, TAO Restaurant and Nightclub in Las Vegas, and Voyeur Nightclub in Los Angeles.

"In addition to engaging the most elite DJs in the industry, we are thrilled with the prospect of this new nightclub working in conjunction with Borgata Festival Park to create an all-day-night entertainment experience unlike any other," said Borgata senior vice president Joe Lupo.

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Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC