What’s Next For Atlantic City And Glenn Straub? Who Knows

The biggest piece of property that Glenn Straub owned in Atlantic City — the former Revel/TEN — is no longer his. But he still owns property in town.

Is the saga of real estate developer Glenn Straub over in New Jersey? Far from it.

The latest on Straub in AC

The biggest piece of property that Straub owned in Atlantic City — the former Revel/TEN — is no longer his.

But he’s not done with AC quite yet, as he still owns 60 smaller properties in town.

“Even after the sale, Polo North is still the largest non-casino property owner on the Boardwalk,” Straub told the Press of AC. “We will move forward and be a spark for catalyzing positive economic movement in Atlantic City.”

 So given Straub’s often contentious relationship with AC and government officials, what’s next for Straub in New Jersey?

Straub often has big plans

Straub won’t have anything to do with what will now be called Ocean Resort Casino, since it was sold to a Colorado developer earlier this month. But when he did, he used to promise lots of big things for the former Revel, a gleaming property built for more than $2 billion.

A short list of things Straub said he would bring to Revel included:

  • An equestrian center
  • A ropes course
  • An academic institution for geniuses
  • A water park
  • A medical tourism facility
  • A think tank

Of course, none of those things came even close to fruition. Straub, during his time in possession of Revel, was very good at talking big and doing very little of substance. (That included several promises of opening the property that came and went with no action.)

He also insisted that Revel would have a casino, even though he refused to apply for a gaming license.

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Straub might do absolutely nothing

Straub’s plan could very well be to wait for AC to continue to bounce back, which it has been doing for a year-plus, and do nothing with his current real estate holdings.

That would be the same formula he used with Revel, which he sold for much more than he bought it.

If he can do nothing with his AC properties and make money from them, that would seem far more likely than him actually putting money and time into them.

But this much is clear: It’s not the last we’ve heard of Straub in New Jersey.

The Wait is Over: Revel/TEN AC Sold And Reactions To New Ocean Resort Casino Are Varied

The former Revel, aka TEN AC, is being renamed Ocean Resort Casino by a Colorado-based developer and reactions to the Atlantic City casino news are varied.

“Saga” is an apt way to describe the history of Atlantic City casino Revel/TEN AC.

The property owned by Glenn Straub has often hit the headlines for the wrong reasons over the past three years, miring itself in permit battles and ego-driven conflicts with the city. Thankfully, the Press of Atlantic City reported earlier this month, the property has been sold. This was big NJ casino and gambling news, especially for Atlantic City.

The new buyers, Colorado-based AC Ocean Walk, paid a reported $200 million for a property whose original construction bill surpassed $2 billion.

In a statement given to the Press of AC, AC Ocean Walk exec Bruce Deifik called the newly-acquired casino and hotel “tremendous.”

“We are incredibly excited that we were able to take advantage of the opportunity to acquire this tremendous property at a time when Atlantic City is seeing great economic strides,” Deifik was quoted as saying.

Former Revel will be renamed Ocean Resort Casino

The sprawling, glass-encased property will open this summer under its new name, Ocean Resort Casino.

That the former Revel is reopening as a casino and hotel is no doubt a relief for everyone in the city and state, not the least of which would be the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. Its constant battles with former owner Straub were no doubt a drain on their patience and their desire to move Atlantic City forward.

What they get with the new announcement from Deifik’s group is another win for the city (the Hard Rock is slated to open later this year) and an investment group who, it is assumed, will spend its time meeting the city’s requirements rather than fighting them with Straub-like cantankerousness.

Deifik said he sees his group’s acquisition as additional horsepower to what has become a rather formidable engine of rebirth in Atlantic City.

“Now the city has a number of exciting new projects with our property and the Hard Rock, as well as Stockton University’s new campus and the expansion of the medical center,” he said in his statement.

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Reactions to Revel/TEN casino sale in NJ

The announcement of the sale and the new Ocean Resort Casino drew a variety of responses on Twitter, with many reactions expressing the sort of timid belief you’d expect after two-and-a-half years of Straub’s antics.

One response noted that the otherwise elegant property had become a garish reminder of Atlantic City’s decline:

Jim Kennedy, an analyst who specializes in AC’s casino industry, noted that the property will have to undergo some serious brand rehabilitation. Revel was often criticized for a very confusing casino-floor layout:

Dave Weinberg, a sports reporter who covers the Press of AC’s Philadelphia Eagles beat, offered this simple expression of excitement about Ocean Resort Casino:

And, finally, Wayne Parry, another Press of Atlantic City reporter who frequents the casino beat, expressed optimism as well:

Straub still makes a profit off Revel casino sale

Straub, a Florida-based developer, bought the Revel out of bankruptcy in August 2015, rescuing the shuttered casino and hotel just two and a half years after the property opened in April 2012.

Revel was the unfortunate poster child of AC’s 2014 casino contraction, in which four properties closed and sent the city’s finances into a tailspin. Despite the best efforts of Mayor Dick Guardian and the city council, they could not submit a feasible 2017 budget. As a result, the state took over the city’s finances.

Amid this upheaval, Straub made promise after promise that the rebranded TEN AC would open its doors despite a lack of proper permitting.

Meanwhile, the state managed to settle an outstanding tax debt toward Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. In the following months, Hard Rock International announced it would purchase the Trump Taj Mahal.

During all of this, Straub was still allegedly planning to open TEN AC, but his promises never came to fruition.

It’s unclear how much the developer poured into the property in the 29 months he owned it, but, based on the purchase and sale price of Revel, Straub stands to earn at least double what he paid for Revel.

What We Know So Far About Ocean Resort Casino, AKA The Reopening Of Former Revel AC

The former Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City — aka TEN AC — is officially sold and will reopen this year under a new name: Ocean Casino Resort.

The former Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City — aka TEN AC for a brief time — is officially sold and will reopen this year under a new name: Ocean Resort Casino.

Here’s what we know so far about the old/new resort coming to AC.

Here comes Ocean Resort Casino, the former Revel

Most of what we know about the former Revel — now Ocean Resort — comes from a press release from the purchasing company. The former owner — Glenn Straub — did finally confirm that the sale was happening, despite months of denying it.

The purchasing company — AC Ocean Walk — bought the shuttered resort for $200 million. Straub bought the company out of bankruptcy for less than half that in 2015. The casino had been open only briefly before that after being built for a price tag of more than $2 billion. The resort plans to employ more than 2,500 people.

“We are incredibly excited that we were able to take advantage of the opportunity to acquire this tremendous property at a time when Atlantic City is seeing great economic strides. Now the city has a number of exciting new projects with our property and the Hard Rock, as well as Stockton University’s new campus and the expansion of the medical center,” said Bruce Deifik, chairman of AC Ocean Walk, told the Press of Atlantic City.

When will Ocean Resort open?

The company said it plans to reopen the resort in “summer 2018.” 

That’s obviously a large swath of time. Earlier reports had a possible opening in May, but that’s an aggressive timeline based on how much the new owners are planning to do to get the resort up and running. Investor documents earlier showed plans for $175 million dedicated to changes and improvements.

While May is possible, June or July might be more likely. There’s definitely going to be a race between Ocean Resort and Hard Rock — which is renovating the former Trump Taj Mahal — to be the first to reopen.

Will you be able to gamble at Ocean Resort?

Seeing as “casino” is in its name, that seems to be a given. When Straub was trying to reopen Revel, it was not clear gambling would take place.

But Ocean Resort will have 138,000 square feet of gaming space, according to new ownership. There will be 100 table games and 2,200 slot machines.

There are also plans already afoot for opening a sportsbook, as well, which would happen if New Jersey wins its US Supreme Court case to have legal sports betting.

So, yes, you’re definitely going to be able to gamble there.

Will Ocean Resort have online gambling?

There’s no word on whether Ocean Resort will join the NJ online gambling industry. But it seems like a safe bet eventually.

Even though it would be a late entrant to the market — online gambling has been around since 2013 in the state — there’s no reason why the new casino couldn’t get involved now. The market has continued to expand in recent years, and new brands and approaches to the online casino and poker space have succeeded.

It’s possible the online casino market is nearing saturation, but Ocean Resort could certainly get a piece of the pie. It’s even possible an online casino could come before the physical casino, based on how quickly the new owners appear to be moving.

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What else will Ocean Resort have?

Here are some of the other numbers on Ocean Resort:

  • 1,399 rooms
  • 165,000 square feet in meeting and convention space
  • 5,700-seat concert hall with space for potential future expansion
  • 7,700 parking spaces

Also from the owner:

“It is our mission and vision to fully serve the customer base of Atlantic City. In that regard, we are working to bring back some of the restaurants that were successful at the property and we have worked diligently to create some specialized new venues including a top Asian noodle bar and a high end players club. Our investment in this property will make certain there is something for everyone at the Ocean,” Deifik said.

Image credit: Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com