Fire to Delay Borgata Hotel & Casino Expansion

Atlantic City, New Jersey (AP) — A fire last month at a new 800-room hotel expansion of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa will force the USD 400 million project to delay its opening by several months, the casino’s parent company said Tuesday.

Boyd Gaming Corp. said it has completed its initial assessment of the damage caused by the Sept. 23 blaze at The Water Club, a 43-story hotel and spa tower being built next to the existing casino-hotel.

The Water Club originally was expected to open „in early 2008.“ But the fire has pushed the anticipated opening back to some time before the start of summer, said Keith Smith, Boyd’s president and chief operating officer for Atlantic City operations.

The company said the fire is not expected to increase the cost of the project.

„Although we are disappointed by the delay caused by the fire, we currently remain on track to open The Water Club’s doors in time for the peak of the Atlantic City tourism season in 2008,“ Smith said.

Most of the fire damage was to the exterior of the building in a foam and plaster surface. Interior sections sustained some smoke and water damage.

No one was injured in the fire, which was reported at 7:45 a.m. and brought under control about 20 minutes later.

It was unclear what caused the fire. A casino spokesman referred inquiries to the Atlantic City Fire Department, which did not return messages seeking comment Tuesday.

The fire did not affect the original Borgata hotel and casino building, which opened in 2003 and has dominated the Atlantic City market ever since.

The Water Club was Borgata’s plan to keep it that way in the coming years, even as rival casinos expand; at least two, and as many as four new casinos are slated to be built in the city, grabbing attention as the new players in town.

The Borgata is hailing the addition as part of the next generation of luxury hotels in Atlantic City. It will not have casino space, but is designed to add more badly needed hotel rooms to the market.

The Water Club is due to include five tiers of rooms, 18,000 square feet of meeting space, five indoor and outdoor pools, six retail shops, and a two-story „spa in the sky.“

When it is finished, it will bring the total investment in Atlantic City by Borgata’s owners, Boyd Gaming and MGM Mirage, to USD 1.7 billion.