Och-Ziff Real Estate is teaming up with Hard Rock International to develop a Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City.
Just two days after new legislation was proposed in New Jersey to encourage the development of smaller casinos and hotels in Atlantic City, Och-Ziff said it had formed a strategic alliance with Hard Rock to develop a beachfront section of Atlantic City’s boardwalk. The proposed legislation, introduced by state Senator Jim Whelan, would for the first time allow developers to build new casinos in Atlantic City with fewer than 500 hotel rooms, rather than the current requirement for hotels with casinos to be at least 60,000-square-feet. A Hard Rock spokesman said the legislation was in its early stages.
The first phase of the project is estimated to cost somewhere in the $300 million range, not including the cost of the project site. The first phase of the project would feature a gaming floor, hotel, dining and entertainment venues, pool, and Rock Spa.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Och-Ziff first purchased the land for the project in late 2007 for $80 million through its affiliate Atlantic Beach Gateway LLC, with plans to develop a $1 billion-plus mega-casino, tentatively called the Gateway Project. The Inquirer report added that Hard Rock was taking over that project.
Och-Ziff was not immediately available to comment on when Hard Rock became involved in the deal. Och-Ziff Real Estate is part of the alternative asset management firm Ozh-Ziff Capital Management Group, which had approximately $24.6 billion under management as of March 1, 2010.