Two tourists from Massachusetts found it hard to believe that on a gorgeous summer day, there were no sunbathers frolicking in the surf at Revel’s beach.
Instead, the sandy patch of prime real estate was crowded Monday afternoon with gigantic boulders, cranes and earthmovers.
“Sad,” Jeane Holland, of Fall River, Mass., said bluntly as her friend Beverly Tavares nodded in agreement.
But Revel, the new $2.4 billion megaresort, will finally get most of its beach back this week after waiting patiently for New Jersey to complete an $8.4 million project that will help protect the shoreline from storms.
“It’s going to be very, very helpful, even though there’s only about a month of the (summer) season left,” said Kevin DeSanctis, Revel’s chief executive officer. “It’s very helpful because it gives us a lot of relief. Our pools are very busy.”
All but 100 feet of beach directly in front of Revel will be reopened to the public Wednesday, state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Ragonese said. The DEP originally expected to complete this part of the project Aug. 15 but was able to accelerate the work.
“We were hoping to move this along quicker for this new casino and new business in town,” Ragonese said. “We were able to move it up a bit. We got some cooperative weather and seas.”
Construction has deprived the beach-themed Revel of its beach all summer. The irony was all too obvious to Holland and Tavares, who visited Revel on Monday afternoon. They said they plan to return to Revel for an overnight stay, once the beach work is done.
“This is supposed to be a place with water views, right?” Tavares said. “The next time we come here, it will be because of the beach.”
Revel has made the beach a focal point of its architecture and its marketing. Sweeping views of the coastline and ocean unfold throughout the upscale casino hotel. In radio ads, Revel has touted itself as a “resort destination for concerts, cabanas, beaches and bonfires.”
Surfing lessons, paddleboarding, volleyball and food service will be some of the activities Revel will offer to guests once the beach reopens, DeSanctis said.
“It should be very nice, very active,” he said.
Revel’s gateway to the ocean has been closed off while work continues along a half-mile stretch of beach from the northern tip of Absecon Island to Delaware Avenue. After construction is completed, stone jetties protruding 300 feet into the water in front of Revel at Massachusetts and Vermont avenues will be twice as strong and twice as long.
The jetties will help prevent the newly replenished beaches from being swept out to sea during storms. An underwater sill, or dam, will also help to preserve the beaches by slowing down the energy of the waves. The massive boulders and stones piled high on the beaches now will be used to build the jetties and sill.
Ragonese said construction will continue on the jetties throughout the summer and into fall. So the boulders, cranes and earthmovers will not disappear entirely from the beachfront. However, construction equipment will be relocated off the beach directly in front of Revel to free it up for the public.
“We will be able to do some of the remaining work on the jetties in the water without interfering with the beach activity,” Ragonese said. “We’ll cordon off a small portion of the beach. The majority of the beach will be open on the first of August, which is good news.”
The DEP said Revel intends to use the beach between the Massachusetts Avenue jetty and Garden Pier at New Jersey Avenue. All but 100 feet of beach south of the Massachusetts Avenue jetty will be reopened this week.
“Everybody would like to have that beach open during the summer,” Ragonese said. “Everyone knew that. ... Was there pressure? Sure. We knew there was a need to get that beach open.”
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