We’ve all heard rumors about what’s going to happen to the resort structure that once housed Revel, the $2 billion luxury hotel and casino that was meant to modernize Atlantic City’s boardwalk and bring it back to life. Less than a year into its operation, Revel was plagued with financial troubles like unpaid city taxes and disputes with Unite Here! Local 54, Atlantic City’s casino workers union. The casino’s underwhelming revenues only made these troubles worse, forcing it to declare bankruptcy twice. By September 2014, the boardwalks’ savior was toast.
Revving the Rumor Engine
And that’s where the current crop of rumors started. A building like that couldn’t just be left to slowly decay. Bloggers throughout New Jersey began to speculate about Revel’s future. By now, you’ve heard it all about what’s next for Revel. You’ve heard about it becoming a world-class university, reopening as another shot at the exact same thing, and becoming a clone of the Great Wolf Lodge in an attempt to court families, complete with a high-speed ferry from Manhattan. The possibility of creating a high-tech luxury health spa within Revel has also appeared on the internet, attributed to Straub himself. Such a spa would offer new age treatments and supplements like blood analysis and plasma grafts, tapping into a market previously unseen in Atlantic City.
The truth is, these are all speculations. Over the past nine months, Revel’s story has been clouded by speculations, assumptions, and court battles regarding its new ownership. As of right now, here are the facts about what’s going on with Revel:
There’s a Literal Power Struggle Happening
The electrical equipment inside Revel belongs to the building’s original power supplier, ACR Energy Suppliers. After a fee dispute with Straub, the energy company cut the building’s power, prompting the city to fine Straub $5,000 per day for every day Revel went without electricity. Having a building of that size without electricity is a fire hazard because in the event of a fire, the alarm system would not sound and any individuals inside would be in danger. In April, Straub reached an agreement with ACR to have the power restored for the next two weeks for $262,000.
Straub planned to find an alternate power source for the resort, but was unable to do so by the end of May. Currently, ACR continues to power the building. This is partially due to ACR blocking Straub from actually hooking into an alternate power source because of fears of this new power source damaging ACR’s millions of dollars’ worth of equipment inside Revel. Part of the court battle has been over these fixtures’ ownership. Attorneys for Polo North, Straub’s company, claim that they purchased the fixtures with the building. This is in line with New Jersey’s state laws. However, ACR claims this is not the case and that its electrical fixtures, including wire cabinets and power substations throughout the property, are its own and touching them without authorization is akin to trespassing.
And Revel Can’t Open without an Electric Plan
Straub had wanted to source energy from the former Showboat building, currently owned by Stockton University, which is under contract for him to purchase as well. However, without a technical plan in place for hooking into an electrical source, contractors can not move forward with Revel’s redevelopment. Another plan Straub has mentioned in the press is hooking the resort into the Atlantic City Electric grid. This, too, has not moved forward, leaving the building currently without a power plan.
Revel will Not Reopen for Summer 2015
The soonest Revel may reopen, Straub’s company reports, is November 2015. Missing a summer at the Jersey Shore means missing a substantial profit opportunity, but if the renovations will take that long, there really isn’t much he can do.
But this is one fact we know for sure. Revel will not be open this summer, leaving the north end of Atlantic City’s boardwalk a construction zone for now.