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April 02, 2015

Judge approves sale of Revel casino to Florida developer

It took five tries, but the sale of the Revel Casino in Atlantic City was finally approved by a bankruptcy court on Thursday. 

Just three years after Atlantic City's $2.4 billion Revel Casino opened, Judge Gloria Burns approved an $82 million sale to Florida developer Glen Straub, 6 ABC reports. 

The deal was helped along by Straub's agreement to drop a condition that the sale would nullify hitches like the status of the current tenants, a major sticking point in previous proposals. According to Judge Burns, the current deal will require Straub to resolve that and other remaining issues with Revel outside of bankruptcy court. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, Straub intends to cancel all of the property's existing leases and contracts, including those with both the tenants and the operator of the custom-built power plant that is the property's only source of electricity and hot water. 

Overall, Straub told WSJ that he plans to spend as much as $800 million in Atlantic City, with a $300 million investment in a second tower at the Revel site. Another $500 million will go to the surrounding area, with projects such as an airport renovation and amenities to make Atlantic City a family-friendly destination. 

Judge Burns had approved a previous sale to Straub for $95.4 million in January, but it was undone after an appeals court blocked a part of it.

As many as 18 last-second offers were still floating on Thursday, including one from a group led by Howard Milstein of New York and Carl Goldberg of New Jersey, but all parties to the final agreement were impatient and resolved to clinch the deal. 6ABC reported:
"We've spent six months where we could have been building Atlantic City," said Straub's attorney, Stuart Moskovitz. "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."
Straub has proposed different uses for the Revel property itself, potentially keeping a smaller casino and adding condos, a hotel, a waterpark, and a "genius academy" for the world's top minds to tackle society's problems.