Glenn Straub, the scrappy polo-obsessed real estate developer who said sheer boredom led him to put a $90 million cash bid on Revel Casino-Hotel, began detailing one of his many plans for the failed megaresort this week, and it’s not what you expected: a tower of geniuses.
Straub said he’d build a second tower at Revel that would stand 30-35 stories. In it: a colony of “some of the smartest people in the world,” living and working on pressing global problems, like nuclear waste disposal.
“The university’s going to go in,” Straub said by phone Thursday. “It’s going to be for geniuses.”
Thursday’s interview also included talk of high-speed ferry and rail systems and an “underground passageway” for tourists to comfortably traverse Atlantic City during winter.
At a bankruptcy hearing Monday, Revel attorneys said Straub’s company, Polo North Country Club Inc., is the sole bona fide bidder on Revel. An auction is slated for Sept. 24 if another qualified bidder emerges.
Straub has a reputation in south Florida as a hard-charging bargain-hunter.
He bought the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club, in Wellington, Fla., for $27 million in a 1993 bankruptcy sale. He netted the former Miami Heat arena in 2004 for $28 million, slightly more than half what it cost to build. And he snagged Tesoro, a tony residential golf oasis in Port St. Lucie, Fla., in 2009 for nearly $11 million — a fraction of the $180 million spent developing it, reported the trade publication Florida Trend.
Straub has said he wants a casino at the Revel property but that gambling won’t be the dominant draw.
On Thursday slot-machine manufacturer IGT asked a federal judge to order Revel to surrender gambling equipment stored at the shuttered property. IGT told Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gloria Burns that the building’s future as a casino is unclear, and that the equipment collateralizes more than $3.6 million owed to the Nevada company.
This week Burns said she would allow a $3 million payout to Straub if the former Revel property is sold to another buyer.
But even if that happens, Straub said Thursday that he will “most likely” still invest heavily in Atlantic City. He declined to expound on how, precisely, that investment would take shape.
Atlantic City needs guidance from someone, he said — “something like a dad.”
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