Developer Glenn Straub says he’s considering abandoning his resurrection plans for Revel Atlantic City unless local officials in New Jersey change their governing ways.
The Florida-based real estate millionaire was once again before New Jersey’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) last week. Straub is seeking a permit to operate the resort.
Straub has performed renovations on the $2.4 billion shuttered property to include a ropes and 13-floor cycling course.
The changes required new traffic-flow permits from the CRDA, but the governing organization says it needs additional information. The CRDA has also dragged its feet in approving a casino permit for Revel, even though Straub has hired a gambling operator to manage the facility’s gaming.
The CRDA argues Straub’s company, Polo North Country Club Inc., hasn’t filed the appropriate paperwork.
“I can’t believe how much bureaucracy there is in this state. This is exactly what New Jersey is known for,” Straub opined to reporters during a break. “This state stinks.”
Straub said he’s got “other things to do” then wait on New Jersey and Atlantic City officials.
Straub seemed resolute in professing his willingness to abandon Revel in its entirety, but that would mean giving up on his $82 million investment he paid in 2015 to acquire the bankrupt resort. However, that’s chunk change compared to the $500 million Straub initially committed to the venue that first opened in 2012.
His plans of converting the resort into a “recreation-based facility along with casinos” have hit one roadblock after another.
Just four months ago, Straub told Forbes, “Atlantic City is a perfect place to put money. It’s going to multiply ten times what it’s now worth.”
Straub and billionaire Carl Icahn both pledged to revitalize the gaming beach town. Icahn changed his mind this month by announcing the closure of his Trump Taj Mahal.
Originally scheduled to open on June 15 as a hotel-only facility featuring the recreational activities, unattained permits have kept the lights dark at Revel.
Straub is now aiming for an October opening, but his patience is wearing thin.
“I don’t have time to be screwing with this stuff,” Straub declared. “This is 10 times worse than what it would be anyplace else.”
And Then There Were Seven
When the Trump Taj Mahal closes on October 10, only seven casinos will remain in Atlantic City. The city’s casinos all pay 1.25 percent of gross gaming revenues to fund the CRDA.
The CRDA must follow a series of regulations and licensing procedures, but the policies are certainly not making it easy for Straub to bring back Revel.
Instead of doing everything in its power to expedite the process, the CRDA seems to be focused on non-gaming entertainment.
At its meeting last week, the agency approved two measures that have nothing to do with the casino market.
The agency agreed to sponsor a fifth summer beach concert with Live Nation, and also agreed to spend $150,000 on the Garden State Film Festival over the next two years.
“The CRDA continues its mission to attract events and visitors to the city,” CRDA Executive Director John Palmieri said in a press release.
Unfortunately, at least for now, the CRDA isn’t attracting a half of a billion-dollar investor in Straub.