The Revel casino in Atlantic City will be sold to Florida investor Glenn Straub, despite the fact that he’s still contesting the details of the sale, including the price he will have to pay in order to obtain the property.
US Bankruptcy Judge Gloria M. Burns approved the sale to Straub’s Polo North Country Club, the only bidder remaining after the original bidder dropped out of contention.
That ruling came down this week, when Judge Burns named Straub as the buyer and said he could have the property for the $95.4 million bid he submitted during the auction process last fall. However, Straub immediately announced that he was looking to halt the sale, hoping instead to have a lower price of $87 million approved for the purchase instead.
“This is a most unusual sale motion in that we have an objection by Polo North to their own sale,” said Revel attorney John Cunningham. “I think in my 23 years of practicing bankruptcy law this is my first time to see that.”
Wants Lower Initial Bid Accepted
Judge Burns said that the most recent bid by Straub’s firm would still be binding, while Straub’s attorneys said that he wanted his first bid to be taken instead, as they felt the entire process had been flawed. That led attorney Stuart Moskovitz to ask Burns to issue a stay on her own order, which she refused to do.
Attorneys for the Revel said that Straub had been refusing to engage with them, saying that he planned to appeal the sale order. But Moskovitz countered by saying that Straub really just wanted a few days to consider his options, and that no challenges would be brought up until later in the week.
Thursday Rulings May Placate Straub
On Thursday, Judge Burns made two ruling that may encourage Straub to stay the course and purchase the former casino. First, the judge said that Straub won’t be committed to the previous agreement that the Revel had with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which gave that agency power over spending a 1.25 percent tax on all casino revenues. Now, Straub will have the right to determine what is done with that money.
“He does want input on how this money is used,” Moskovitz told Judge Burns. “He thinks he can do a better job.”
Secondly, Judge Burns ruled that Straub has the right to reject all tenant leases when he buys the Revel. While Straub has said that he’s willing to talk to the current tenants, which include restaurants and night clubs, he may want to move them in order to change the layout of the building into something that fits his purposes.
Exactly what Straub wants to do with the property has been a fascinating question ever since he entered the bankruptcy auction, as he has offered a number of possibilities to the press over what he might do with the former casino. On Thursday, Straub offered up a new possibility: he could turn the property into a major indoor/outdoor waterpark.
Straub also said that he would be interested in running high-speed ferries or catamarans between Atlantic City and New York City in order to bring more tourists into the seaside resort town. In addition, he plans to remove the Revel name from the property and sell the naming rights to generate more revenue.