January 31, 2017
Initial plans for Atlantic City's Revel casino, built in 2012 at a cost of $2.4 billion, could not have come undone more disastrously had the goal been to construct an empty monument to economic demise.
Closed after just two years in business, a lengthy bankruptcy ended with Florida developer Glenn Straub's purchase of the casino for $82 million — pennies on the dollar — in 2015. Ensuing contract disputes with prior tenants, a battle over utilities and unsavory sewage issues left the towering seaside building dormant through 2016 as Straub wrangled with the city to square away land use and licensing issues.
Last September, however, Straub assembled a new management team and announced that Revel would be rebranded as TEN, an "infinitely perfect escape" for guests and local businesses. Its viability in a market dominated by the Borgata appears somewhat brighter now that four competitors, including the recently shuttered Trump Taj Mahal, are out of the picture in Atlantic City and New Jersey voters shot down a referendum to bring casinos upstate.
Making TEN a casino apparently is not the top priority of TEN's management, now led by Straub, CEO Robert Landino and former Revel CFO Alan Greenstein. Once reopened, the 47-story tower will feature 1,399 hotel guest rooms and suites, three nightclubs, 13 restaurants, 88,000 square feet of spa and retail space, five pools and 130,000 square feet of casino and gaming space.
The holdup has been, in part, the result of a disagreement with the Casino Control Commission over leasing requirements for a casino on the property. The gaming authority ruled Tuesday that Straub must apply for a casino license, dismissing his argument that it shouldn't be his concern since he plans to lease the casino space to a third-party vendor, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
Straub says TEN's spa and portions of the hotel will officially reopen by President's Day, or Feb. 20, even as the casino plans remain in limbo. The company's official website and Twitter account haven't made any formal announcement, but if the plan is legitimately to open in three weeks, more details should be expected very soon.