TEN Atlantic City. Glenn Straub. Revel Casino Hotel.
Those eight words have been the source of one of the most cantankerous narratives in Atlantic City. And according to local sources, all that may come to an end with just one word: sold.
“A Colorado-based company has filed an agreement of sale with the Atlantic County Clerk’s Office, signaling its intent to purchase the closed Revel Casino Hotel,” the Press of Atlantic City reported.
Reports say Colorado group is the NJ casino’s buyer
According to PoAC, the name of the buyer is Mile High Dice MGR, LLC, and is based in Colorado.
The company filed a notice of sale agreement with the city in August, PoAC said.
Basically, a notice of sale agreement represents serious intentions to buy a property, but is not a sale agreement in the sense that it guarantees a deal will go through.
However, the developments indicate that Mile High Dice is relatively intent on closing a deal, thus ending a saga that city leaders are probably happy to see finished.
Who is Mile High Dice?
Mile High Dice’s head man is Bruce Deifik, CEO of Denver’s Integrated Properties, Inc.
According to Deifik’s company profile, Integrated Properties was founded in 1990 and has “acquired 103 commercial properties in five states in excess of 8.5 million square feet.”
At the time of publishing, the company held one casino: Lucky Club Casino & Hotel in North Las Vegas.[i15-table tableid=4289]
Not the first time the TEN has been in sale talks
Developer Glenn Straub’s TEN Atlantic City property has courted multiple suitors over the past two years. Those interested parties, mixed with Straub’s oft-outlandish behavior, have earned the TEN a comically dubious reputation.
The most recent interested party, according to NJ.com, was a New York private investment firm who reportedly wanted to make an offer of $225 million on the property.
The payoff would’ve represented a nice return for Straub. He bought the beleaguered property in 2015 for $82 million, an absolute steal considering the Revel was built at a cost of more than $2 billion.
However, Straub told local news sources he was unaware of an offer, muddying a situation that was already about as obfuscated is it could get.
There’s no telling what will actually happen with TEN AC
While the news of a potential buyer is encouraging it is by no means a certainty.
The TEN/Revel’s history has included many promises of renovations, repurposing, and grand openings, none of which materialized.
The latest disappointment? Straub said TEN AC would open on June 15, exactly one year after the casino’s much-ballyhooed first major reopening promise.
Both openings never happened.
Image credit: Creative Family / Shutterstock.com
Glenn Straub, you’ve been had.
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) announced this month it placed a $62,000 lien on TEN Atlantic City (formerly Revel) for unpaid 2015 CRDA Special Improvement District fees. This is one of the only instances in the past two years in which the CRDA has slapped a tangible punishment on Straub’s Polo North development company.
The news broke on Press of Atlantic City, who said Judge Julio J. Mendez gave Polo North 90 days to pay off the balance or all court fees associated with the judgement would be placed on the development company.
The total amount due is $62,641.
Chris Howard, executive director of the CRDA, told the paper what we’ve heard many times from Atlantic City’s leaders: Straub wouldn’t comply with the governing body’s demands.
“While the authority would prefer to resolve such claims amicably, Polo North refused to pay its SID Assessment and, ultimately, failed to comply with a court order compelling payment,” Howard was quoted as saying.
Issue goes back to 2016
Straub’s battles with the CRDA are numerous and well-publicized. Among his many contentions is that he shouldn’t have to pay for the fees, a case he made via a lawsuit filed in 2016, the Press of Atlantic City noted.
The CRDA disagreed with Straub, as has often been the case. Judge Mendez validated the CRDA’s position. It remains to be seen if Straub will pay the nominal fee.
Another reopening date missed by the NJ casino
The news about the CRDA’s court victory came just a few days before Straub was supposed to open TEN.
Straub announced earlier this year that TEN would open on June 15. The irony was not lost on many industry experts. June 15 was exactly one year after the former Revel’s 2016 failed opening date.
The opening, as many expected, never happened. Straub is still mired in a court battle with the Casino Control Commission (CCC).
The CCC told Straub he needed a casino license to operate TEN’s casino. Straub’s contention is that he’s merely a landlord. He maintains that the third-party he hired should be required to get the license.[i15-table tableid=4306]
Image credit: John Arehart / Shutterstock.com
Will the planned reopening of Atlantic City’s Revel — now known as TEN AC — be the first chapter of a successful resort? Or just the latest episode of stops, starts and missteps for the shuttered property?
In terms of value, Glenn Straub hit a veritable jackpot when he bought the Revel Casino Hotel out of bankruptcy for $82 million in September 2014.
The hulking glass structure with its street-level sprawl and monolithic hotel tower was, if nothing else, a visual marvel. It featured a construction price tag ($2.4 billion) almost as absurd as its undulating, blue-glass form.
And yet, somehow the feisty Florida developer Straub was able to score it for less than $100 million. His purchase was a lone bright spot in a year when four Atlantic City casinos closed.
However, whatever notions of hope existed in the wake of the purchase quickly faded as the Revel’s bizarre transformation from abandoned property to TEN began.
Revel saga started in September 2014
Atlantic City had a rough 2014. The Trump Plaza, Revel, Showboat and Atlantic Club all closed their doors all in the same year, representing the first time in the city’s history that two — let alone four — casinos closed in the same calendar year.
The Revel was perhaps the most stunning closure of them all. It was completed just two years prior for $2.4 billion.
The breadth of the economic collapse was evident in that the sparkling new Revel closed its doors the same weekend as the 27-year-old Showboat. Neither newcomers nor old timers were safe.
From a cynical perspective, the Revel’s doom may have been signaled the day it opened. Bigwigs toasted the new venture with blueberry smoothies, an odd choice in a city where booze and champagne were more fitting launch libations.
The casino’s smoking ban, lack of a buffet, and the fact that it had to halt construction because of the Great Recession were also bad signs, reported CBS News shortly after the Revel closed.
To the owners’ credit, the “healthy” approach to casino gambling was adventurous, if not culturally appropriate. It came in a time when millennials care little about traditional gambling experiences.
Straub ends a contentious sale in April 2015
Eight months after the Revel said goodbye to its gamblers and guests, Straub bought the casino for around three percent of its original cost.
A Press of Atlantic City photo and corresponding caption punctuated an article about the purchase. Straub is positioned on a sidewalk in a construction hat and a black overcoat. He stood casually standing resolute against the backdrop of a gray sky and demure-looking Revel.
“Straub says he hopes they have something open this year,” the 2015 article read, “but he hasn’t decided whether it will include a casino; he has talked often of an indoor-outdoor water park there.”
The construction hat seemed out of place at the time, although it was most likely required to enter the property. It was a sign of the struggles and hard-headedness to come.
Later that year, Straub’s development company refused to make necessary updates to the property to prevent it from being deemed a fire hazard, resulting in daily fines of $1,000.
Surprise, surprise: 2016 soft launch a bust and a name change
A year after Straub bought Revel, the problems continued, despite his claims that the property would have a soft-launch that June.
It turned out the Revel was in no shape to welcome the public. In the days leading up to the failed launch, only minor work was being done on the property. Needless to say, the Revel didn’t open on June 15, 2016.
Last September, the news broke that Revel would be rebranded as TEN. It was a seemingly strategic move to divorce the property from its bumpy history.
In the months that unfolded, however, it became clear the real problem was Straub, and as long as he had the reins of this hobbled horse, progress was only an ideal, not a reality.[i15-table tableid=4306]
2017: More failures, new opening date
Straub started the year telling the New Jersey Casino Control Commission (and anyone who would listen) that he refused to comply with the state’s request that he file for a casino license.
Straub’s argued that in hiring a third party, headed by Robert Landino, to run the property’s casino. That company should apply for the license, Straub said. A Jan. 31 hearing made the matter clear; the NJCCC ruled Straub was the party responsible for acquiring a casino license. It was just one in a number of run-ins with regulators.
In the meantime, Straub said at least a portion of the property would open in February, which didn’t happen. He then announced the casino would open this June, exactly one year after the property’s projected opening date in 2016.
The best guess, barring some kind of miracle, is that the TEN of June 2017 will be no different than the Revel of June 2015: vacant, languishing and with an uncertain future.
Believe it or not, has set an opening date for TEN Atlantic City … again.
Like a belligerent bachelor setting another date, Glenn Straub announced recently that his resort — TEN AC — would open June 15. What’s interesting about the most current pronouncement is that Straub said the exact same thing early in 2016. The resort did not open on June 15, 2016.
A report from the Press of Atlantic City seems to indicate the same thing is supposed to happen this year, noting that the news was a surprise for the city’s head of licensing and inspection.
Will TEN AC get the permits?
The issue with Straub’s June 15 prediction is the same one that has plagued the developer since he purchased the former Revel property out of bankruptcy in 2014: permits.
At various times he’s delayed opening because he wasn’t able to secure permits related to plumbing, fire alarms and more.
Here’s what the Press of AC said about this current June 15 deadline:
“Before Straub can open the property he has to meet several Casino Reinvestment Development Authority conditions, including providing a landscaping plan and traffic study. CRDA officials said Straub has yet to meet the conditions.”
While we can’t say Straub will fail in opening the hotel in time, it does not bode well that Dale Finch, Atlantic City’s director of licensing and inspection, told the paper his department will reach out to Straub and “work with him the best that we can.”
Straub doesn’t play nice with the city
Smooth talk and savvy have not been Straub’s strong suit.
During the past two years, Straub has made his opinion of the city and state’s procedures very public, calling them out on various occasions for being a politically motivated juggernaut that refuses to make property openings easy.
His beef with city and state authorities has escalated many times. The latest example had him saying public servants “rape” developers.[i15-table tableid=4306]
Battle for casino license continues
As it stands now, TEN will open as a resort on June 15 with no casino. Why? Straub refuses to comply with the regulators’ requests that he obtain a casino operating permit.
Straub’s contention is that he’s merely a landlord and that the third party he’s hired to run casino operations should be the group responsible for obtaining a casino permit.
A hearing with the Casino Control Commission in January didn’t go Straub’s way. The CCC ruled he is the party responsible for obtaining the license.
Ever the contrarian, Straub refused to accept the verdict. His ongoing antics caused Gov. Chris Christie to say earlier this week that Straub should open the property or sell it and move on.
Meanwhile, you can try out a free-to-play social casino under TEN’s banner.
Image credit: Aneese / Shutterstock.com
You’ve got to give TEN Atlanic City owner Glenn Straub credit. His repeated attempts to circumvent casino licenses for his resort have been rebuffed by New Jersey regulators. But the wily developer has opened a social online casino.
A sneak peek at the TEN AC casino
The TEN AC social casino does not allow real-money wagers. It is operated by GAN, the same company that provides the Betfair online casino through the Golden Nugget online casino license. Betfair does take bets for real money.
The website is relatively simple — the TEN logo adorns the header of the page. A menu on the left gives gamblers the option to play:
- Slots: 41 different games from which to choose
- Table games: Six options, including roulette, blackjack and poker
- VIP games: 30 different slots option
Players can also view the latest promotions which, at the time of publishing, included a 5,000 virtual-credit bonus and a daily log-in bonus.
The site opened with a relative whimper, PR-wise — neither TEN’s Twitter page nor its Facebook page made an announcement of the site’s opening.
Social casino a small sign of life for TEN AC
To count this as a victory for Straub would probably draw a hearty-yet-satirical laugh from the cantankerous developer. His antics amid a drawn-ought legal battle to open the former Revel resort in Atlantic City have created a lot of drama.
The state’s casino control commission wants Straub to apply for a casino license. Straub maintains he doesn’t need to, saying he’s just a landlord who hired a third-party operator to run the casino for him.
That much is true — he has hired another company to run his unopened casino. However, that certainty is met by the looming stubbornness of a state organization that refuses to let Straub cut corners.
Straub, state and local agencies deadlocked
Considering how stubborn the state and Straub are, it’s no wonder that TEN AC missed soft openings in the summer of 2016 and this past February.
Aside from the casino licensing issue, Straub has managed to entangle himself in squabbles over a variety of permits that never seem to line up between him and government agencies.
Straub’s conclusion? The state’s red tape is nothing more than a bureaucratic quagmire meant to entangle ambitious entrepreneurs. He went as far as to liken the process to rape.
Everyone’s patience is wearing thin
Straub bought the former Revel casino for a rock-bottom price of $82 million in the wake of the 2014 AC casino contraction.
The sale was an ever-so-tantalizing move and certainly one that promised growth in a city weary of fiscal downsizing. However, more a year later, Straub found himself with permit problems, a clear sign of what was ahead.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell where developer Glenn Straub ends and his teenaged, angst-filled alter ego begins.
In what could be considered a disrespectful and rude tirade, Straub didn’t pull punches this week when talking about how state and local politics have made the process of opening TEN Atlantic City (formerly Revel) slow and expensive.
“They don’t know how not to rape you,” Straub told the USA Today-owned Courier-Post. “It’s like when you come to New Jersey, you have to take all of your clothes off and burn all your money.”
Straub’s words come at a poor time in light of this week’s celebration of International Women’s Day.
Straub doesn’t want to play by the rules
The firebrand developer bought the Revel out of bankruptcy in 2015. He paid an incredible $82 million for a property that cost more than $2 billion to build.
State and local agencies including the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and the New Jersey Casino Control Commission have taken a hard line against Straub, not standing for his antics and sticking with their policies.
They want him to:
- Obtain a casino license
- Pay a $100,000 debt left by the previous owner
- Procure other necessary permits and inspections
Straub has balked at these stipulations, claiming he isn’t obligated to pay any debts left by previous owners. He also doesn’t believe he should have to obtain a casino license.
After all, Straub says, he’s merely a landlord. He says he will contract out casino and hotel operations to New Jersey developer Robert Landino.
Straub’s attempts to evade a casino license failed in January when regulators ruled against him.
Straub missed Feb. 20 deadline: Nothing new
The Revel-TEN-Straub saga has been a consistent string of missed deadlines and permits.
Straub announced early this year he would open parts of TEN AC on Feb. 20 despite lacking the permits to do so. As many industry experts expected, it did not open on Feb. 20 because Straub lacked the necessary permits to serve alcohol.
Common sense would dictate Straub should have had these permits in hand before announcing an opening date, but much of what’s happened in this saga defies convention.
For example, Straub has tried to open the property in the past without conducting health inspections for his restaurants or obtaining permits for elevators.
City regulators say they’re willing to work with Straub
Despite Straub’s constant stream of anti-regulator rhetoric, AC Director of Licensing and Inspection Dale Finch has said he and his colleagues want to help Straub open as soon as possible.
All permit and inspection applications were sent to Straub, but the miserly mogul, for whatever reason, has refused to complete the necessary documentation.
From a business perspective, Straub appears to be fighting for deregulation in an industry that is heavily regulated. Perhaps Straub could win backers by making that argument, were it not for his inflammatory comments, lack of action on key permits and an overall abrasive approach to working with the city and state.