Glenn Straub takes close look at his Revel
ATLANTIC CITY - Glenn Straub was looking for the casino floor. Just hours after completing his $82 million purchase of Atlantic City's bankrupt Revel Casino Hotel, the Florida investor roamed the sprawling property Tuesday, punching elevator buttons, remarking on oddball details (a high-tech uniform delivery service accessed by fingerprint), joking, like any new beachfront property owner, about being able to house his friends in one of the extra bedrooms.
ATLANTIC CITY - Glenn Straub was looking for the casino floor.
Just hours after completing his $82 million purchase of Atlantic City's bankrupt Revel Casino Hotel, the Florida investor roamed the sprawling property Tuesday, punching elevator buttons, remarking on oddball details (a high-tech uniform delivery service accessed by fingerprint), joking, like any new beachfront property owner, about being able to house his friends in one of the extra bedrooms.
He now has 1,800 rooms at his disposal.
Straub, owner of Polo North Country Club Inc., said he would be staying in Revel's Room 327 until his boat arrives from Florida at the Farley State Marina, outside the Golden Nugget.
"The hard part is over," Straub said. He said he attended Baptist services in town Sunday and would focus on the city for now: "Three years and move on, leave, and buy something else."
A dozen Revel employees left the property as Straub walked by, refusing to comment. Security remained at the property on the Boardwalk's north end with newly hired Strike Force security guards nearby. Mayor Don Guardian said Straub "sees the potential we have as a city."
What that means for the 132,000-square-foot property remained unclear. He had various answers to long-running Revel questions, some contradictory. He said he had a deal with Revel tenants - who opposed the sale - including the Jose Garces restaurants and the HQ Nightclub set to reopen May 15.
"I told them they should not come in until I have an attraction, which is a casino, or a strip mall, or an outlet mall," he said. "But they're saying they have enough following, they want to open up."
Spokesmen for the restaurants and HQ did not return messages.
Straub said he wants to hire 6,000 people and add an indoor-outdoor water park. He said changes would cost $100 million and were a year away. But he did not rule out reopening for summer.
"We can't do it alone," he said, referring to plans for equestrian fields at Bader Field, the defunct airport, along with docking for high-speed ferries and helicopters. "$500 million is not enough."
He said he was confident power would stay on even though he had no deal with supplier ACR Energy, but also said he could bring generators or use power from the Showboat property, which he has an agreement to purchase if Stockton University cannot bring its Island Campus plan to fruition.
ACR attorney Stuart Brown said by phone during a bankruptcy hearing Tuesday that ACR had the right to switch off Revel's utilities now that the sale is done and the property does not belong to the bankrupt company.
Brown did not respond to an e-mail asking if ACR would turn off the power.
Straub said he looked forward to Stockton professors' training "my next-level backup night desk clerk."
Back inside Revel, Straub had found the darkened slot machines. "This is the first time Mr. Straub has been in a casino without losing money," joked his friend Don Langdon, who was invited down after phoning Straub from Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Straub said he was in talks with parties to operate the casino. He said his attorney dropped off $100,000 at the Division of Gaming Enforcement in connection with an application for a casino license. ("What's the D.G.E?", he asked first.)
A spokeswoman for gaming regulators, who must do a background check on Straub before he can operate a casino, said his application was not complete.
It could take 60 to 90 days for Straub to obtain interim casino authorization, according to Guy S. Michael, an Atlantic City lawyer who is an expert on the licensing process.
The closing ends a long and rocky process that started with Revel's second bankruptcy filing last June. The initial plan was to sell Revel in August, but there were no solid bids at the first auction, a bad sign for the $2.5 billion casino's hedge-fund owners and lenders.
Straub emerged with a $90 million bid in September, setting the baseline for a second auction. At that auction in late September, Straub was outbid by Brookfield Asset Management Inc., a Toronto real estate investment company that later backed out after it failed to reach a satisfactory agreement with ACR Energy Partners.
Straub said Tuesday he would pay at "cost" for the electricity and continue to negotiate to either take over ACR's bonds, or cut ties with it altogether.
On Tuesday, Straub alternately sounded like a man with definite and imminent plans and one who had not quite figured out his way around. "Beyoncé's room was a floor," he said, referring to where the singer stayed when, three years ago, she played at the then-new Revel. "It is 600 feet long."