But that's changed, thanks to a $60 million investment byBally's parent, Harrah's Entertainment. Part of that investmentwent to demolishing a retail strip that blocked the hotel from theboardwalk, and replacing it with a grassy courtyard.

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"It was the right thing to do, to bring the center boardwalktogether [with the hotel]," says a Bally's spokesman, in astatement. "It says a lot about the company in terms of theinvestment [Harrah's] was willing to make, back into our product inthe Atlantic City market."

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Much of that $60 million, in fact, was spent taking thehalf-acre site occupied by the retail strip back into the Bally'sfold. Altogether, more than $38 million was spent to buy theproperty, occupied by souvenir shops, a buffet, a fortuneteller andthe like, from the locally based Schiff family, and to demolish theretail building. The remainder was spent on restoring the DennisFrench chateau-style façade and renovate its guest rooms, accordingto Bally's officials.

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The original Dennis Hotel was built in the 1860s and the currentbuilding, constructed in the early 1920's, mimics the original'sarchitectural style. The building was almost demolished in the late1970s when Bally's was set to build the casino hotel originallycalled Bally's Park Place. But the old hotel survived as acost-saving measure to provide ample hotel rooms for the newcasino.

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In an unrelated casino hotel matter, Pinnacle Entertainmentchairman Dan Lee has told casino regulators here that his company'sproposed $2 billion resort on the site of the old Sands CasinoHotel will get built. Pinnacle officials have, in the past fewmonths, cast some uncertainty to that happening, citing globalcredit market conditions, even as the design processwas moving ahead.

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"We're in this thing for $400 million," Lee told Casino ControlCommission members at a public meeting. "We're not just going tosit on it. Something needs to be developed here."

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That $400 million to date has gone for land acquisition, designwork and legal and other expenses, according to Lee.

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