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ATLANTIC CITY-It overcame a construction fire in September that delayed its opening by about six months, but the $400-million expansion of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa finally opened this weekend. The Water Club, as it is called, will effectively function as a separate hotel, with a separate reception area, although it is immediately adjacent to the original Borgata.

Centerpiece of the expansion, construction for which began in 2006, is its 43-story tower with 800 guest rooms and suites. Also part of the package, which co-owners Boyd Gaming and MGM Mirage are labeling a “boutique-lifestyle hotel,” are the two-story Immersion space on the 32nd floor, 18,000 sf of meeting space, three residence suites, five pools and a half-dozen retail shops.

One thing the Water Club doesn’t have is a casino, but that activity is a few steps away at the Borgata. The latter’s restaurants and other attractions are similarly close by.

“Almost immediately following our opening of Borgata, we began talking with our partners at MGM Mirage about how we might accommodate the high demand we saw from day one,” says Bill Boyd executive chairman of the Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming. His company and MGM Mirage are 50-50 owners of the property, with Boyd Gaming acting as the operating partner.

“That led us to this day and the opening of the Water Club, a project that will fill an untapped niche in this market for a cosmopolitan hotel experience,” Boyd says.

“The Water Club represents the future of Atlantic city as a destination,” says MGM Mirage chairman and CEO Terry Lanni, in a statement. “Just as Borgata did before, The Water Club will serve as a benchmark for all future Atlantic City development.”

Preceding the opening, hotel officials in April rolled out the new hotel’s retail component of six upscale tenants, specifically Le Perla, Just Cavalli, Hearts on Fire, Boss, Fixation and Cameo. And in May, Boyd began taking room reservations in anticipation of the formal opening.

The Water Club’s completion also wraps up Borgata’s master plan for the site. Coupled with the original Borgata, which opened in 2003, and its subsequent expansion completed in 2006, The Water Club’s $400-million price tag runs the total tab for the site to $1.7 billion. The total guest room count is now 2,800.

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