Florida developer Glenn Straub has put in a $90 million offer to buy the now-closed Revel Casino in Atlantic City. Straub and his company, Polo North Country Club inc., have grander ideas for the Revel than being just a casino.
Straub spoke with Bloomberg on Thursday, telling them via a phone interview, Revel “will not be a casino,” and that he wants to bring non-gambling amenities to Atlantic City, with a focus on sports. Straub did tell Bloomberg the newly envisioned Revel “might have a casino in it,” but added, “We don’t need gambling to support what we’re doing.”
Straub also told Bloomberg his company was potentially interested in other properties in Atlantic City, including another closed casino, the Showboat. A spokesman for Caesars Entertainment told Bloomberg that neither Straub nor anyone at Polo North has directly contacted them about purchasing the Showboat.
Straub’s vision for the Revel Casino is one of the few that makes sense. The mammoth hotel casino has been criticized for its poor layout, which offers no direct casino access from the hotel, and features a hotel check-in that requires a lengthy escalator ride to reach the lobby located on the 11th floor.
For these reasons, keeping the Revel as a gaming-first property would likely require an investment of tens- of-millions-of-dollars by any purchaser.
The Revel presented a difficult conundrum
The Revel is more or less a brand new property (opening for business in 2012) that cost some $2.4 billion to erect. It’s widely considered the most beautiful in the city. Because of this, Revel was unlikely to be razed or imploded, which may be the fate of some of the other Atlantic City casino properties that have closed their doors this year.
However, the casino’s need for eight or possibly nine-figures worth of renovations, along with its excessive monthly expenses has made the Revel extremely unappealing to potential investors, as many see the property as an unprofitable venture regardless of the purchase price.
By making gaming a secondary or tertiary amenity, which is Polo’s North plan, the Revel’s design would not be working against its potential success to such a high degree.
Straub’s purchase of Revel is far from a done-deal, as competing companies have until September 24 to outbid the Polo North Country Club. If any more bids are entered the potential buyers will be compared not only monetarily, but also in terms of suitability.
When Caesars and the Tropicana purchased the Atlantic Club in a bankruptcy auction in late 2013 they were not the highest bidder, but the court found them to be the more suitable owners.
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