Glenn Straub’s Polo North Country Club, the Florida developer cinched sale deal of Revel Hotel Casino.
Three years ago casino fans and Atlantic City citizens were reveling in the April 2, 2012 opening of the $2.4 billion Revel Casino in Atlantic City. Twenty nine months later Revel closed. What was seen by many in Atlantic City ‘as a game-changer, a catalyst to reverse years of declining casino revenue and decreasing jobs’ turned out to be a place where only high-income luxury casino guests and leisure felt welcome.
The casino remained closed for 7 months until Florida developer, Glenn Straub’s Polo North Country Club got Judge Gloria Burns’ approval to buy the casino for a whopping $82 million. This was the second time Burns was approving a deal for Straub this year, after a $95.4 million deal that she had approved, was blocked by an appeals court, in January.
Sale saddled with ghost tenants
The approval is only part of the Florida developer, Straub’s larger agreement to purchase several casinos or former casinos in Atlantic City as part of a $500 million deal, in total. There are still speculations though as to the rights of former business tenants at the casino, to operate there when the actually re-opens to the public.
Glenn Straub’s Polo North Country Club announced in US gambling news that it would consider what to do about the tenants’ leases. Judge Burns agreed that Straub would have to work out what to about the tenants ‘outside of bankruptcy court’. Of the deal, Straub said “We have to get started. This is less than a month and a half from now. I can’t afford to sit on $150 million.”
Neither could Wells Fargo who spent more than $64 million on Revel’s bankruptcy case. It said it was tired of handing out checks. Attorney Thomas Kreller reportedly told the judge that the case was filled with “empty, false promises to persuade your honor there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Your honor: There isn’t a tunnel. It’s a hole. It gets deeper, and there is no light.”
4 failed attempts and a scuttle for electricity
Revel could utter a sigh of relief as this was the former casino’s owner after 4 failed attempts to sell Revel. Straub faced last-minute entreaties from would-be bidders who appealed for a postponement of the deadline in order to submit a deal superior to the one Straub was proposing.
The judge, Straub’s attorneys, Revel and lender Wells Fargo had little patience for one of the would-be buyers who was unable to reach a deal for “energy services with the power plant that is Revel’s sole source of heat, air conditioning, water and electricity”. The group was led by Howard Milstein of New York and Carl Goldberg of New Jersey, which offered $88 million.
A genius academy? In a casino? Yes it’s possible
Stuart Moskovitz who is Straub’s attorney said “We’ve spent six months where we could have been building Atlantic City. We’ve been waiting for Godot instead of building Atlantic City, and Godot isn’t showing up, with all due respect to any attorneys representing Godot.”
The final deal for the purchase which should have taken place today has been pushed back until Monday according to Judge Burns, as she was unable to sign the official order. Straub has big plans for the property which include a scaled down casino, as well as a hotel, condominums, a water park and an academy for genius “where the world’s top minds would tackle society’s biggest problems”.
Health insurance and pensions for workers a headache for Ichan.
Meanwhile not everyone is happy about big buyers moving in to purchase and renovate Atlantic City casinos that had to close down. College students in Atlantic City were among those showing their angst. Carl Icahn, an activist investor wants to stop the rundown Showboat Casino Hotel, which sits next door to the Trump Entertainment he just purchased, from being converted into a college campus for Stockton University.
In its defense Trump Entertainment Resorts, with its struggling Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, says a college campus next to the Taj Mahal, would probably have underaged students sneaking in to its US poker rooms to gamble and drink. The casino would then maybe have to pay whopping fines for letting in clients under 21 years old.
And that’s not all. Icahn who plans to purchase the bankrupt Taj Mahal has union members all riled up over benefit cuts and work rule changes to be made to the Taj Mahal he is currently funding but which he has not yet bought. Incidentally, Moskovitz, confirmed that the Showboat was “definitely” part of the multi-faceted $500 million purchase deal Straub was into.