Atlantic City, the once promising child-turned high school drop out-turned addict that just can't seem to get its life together despite billions being poured into its recovery, is hoping for a new lease on life—but it's got its work cut out for it.
Power is being cut today to Revel, the $2.5 billion casino and hotel that died back in September after just two years in business. After many months of back-and-forth, a judge on Tuesday approved the sale of its hulking carcass to Florida developer Glenn Straub, who paid a mere $82 million for the privilege of repurposing the 132,000-square-foot property at his disposal.
First, he has to pony up the money to keep the power on, which ACR Energy Partners plans to switch off at noon today. Straub offered to pay $300,000 for two weeks' worth of power, a deal in which ACR is apparently uninterested. The disappearance of power would kill Revel's air-handlers, making it susceptible to mold.
Assuming he finds a way to keep the lights on, Straub's plans for the future of Revel—and Atlantic City in general—can best be characterized as "ambitious." Last week he unveiled a $500 million proposal called "Project Phoenix," to include, among other things, purchase of the neighboring Showboat casino, with plans to lease it to Stockton University despite a tangle of legal complications and a city council vote Wednesday that would further hamper its progress.
And because 132,000-square-feet of empty space is perhaps still not enough, Straub also intends to complete a second 47-story Revel tower, a project that will require an additional $300 million.
And why stop there? His expansive vision also includes an "extreme sports complex, two marinas with capacity to host super yachts, a world-class multipurpose equestrian complex, indoor and outdoor waterparks, two universities, a pier project with laser light shows, as well as high-speed ferries and helicopter service connecting Manhattan and Atlantic City" in addition to "a medical complex based on quality of life, high-end independent living facilities, and an entertainment hub." His new monstrosity will be rebranded, stripped of the tarnished Revel name and rechristened as "Polo North."
Local officials are understandably enthusiastic about Straub's grand, if implausible, scheme to revitalize the decrepit town.
‘This is the perfect time for investors to come to Atlantic City,” Mayor Don Guardian told CBS New York. “Mr. Straub sees the great potential we have as a city and he believes, as I do, that Atlantic City’s best days are still ahead of us.”
Straub is even more blindingly optimistic.
"As the name of the project signals," he declared in a statement, "the Phoenix rises out of the ashes to be reborn and will evolve to include diversified collection of projects including eight parts designed to show that the American dream is still alive and well."