|By Suzette Parmley, The Philadelphia
InquirerMcClatchy-Tribune Business News
Apr. 20, 2007 - Atlantic City's smallest casino wants to expand into the big time and has plans to more than double its size.
Tony Rodio, president of the Atlantic City Hilton and Resorts casinos, said last night that the Hilton might soon undergo a $1-billion-plus expansion to add a 1,000-room hotel tower, 60,000 square feet of gambling floor space, shops, restaurants, and a 3,500-seat multipurpose room that will be used as a ballroom, convention and meeting space, and for shows and concerts.
"We've been working on this for a while, a little more than the past six months," he said. "I think . . . we do better per square foot than any other casino in the city, and there is a huge demand for our product."
The addition will double casino floor space to about 120,000 square feet. The casino also plans to add 3,000 parking spaces with a new garage that will be connected by an enclosed walkway to the 2,000-space current garage.
Rodio revealed the plans at a relicensing hearing for the Atlantic City Hilton Wednesday before the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. The commission renewed the casino's five-year operating license.
He said last night that he would present the plans to a special meeting of executives of Colony Capital L.L.C., majority owner of the Atlantic City Hilton's parent company, Resorts International Holdings. The Las Vegas meeting will include Thomas J. Barrack Jr., chief executive officer of Colony Capital, of Los Angeles.
"We've reviewed the plans with our chief operating officer, Roger Wagner, and the Hilton's chief executive officer, Nick Ribis," Rodio said. "But they have not been approved by Colony Capital as of yet."
Colony also owns casinos in Mississippi and Indiana.
Rodio said the company had retained the architectural firm of Bergman & Walls for the Atlantic City Hilton's expansion. The firm designed the original building, as well as the Mirage, Treasure Island and Paris casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.
Contact staff writer Suzette Parmley at 215-854-2594 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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