ATLANTIC CITY — The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority’s board of directors approved changes to the former Revel Casino Hotel’s traffic plan, clearing the way for owner Glenn Straub to apply for a temporary certificate of occupancy from the city.
The approval for the property now known as TEN was almost held up because Straub refused to pay approximately $100,000 in Special Improvement District fees as a condition of the approval.
After about 45 minutes of debate, the board decided to remove the condition and let the courts decide the future of the payments.
Straub is currently in litigation over the improvements fees assessed to the property during its bankruptcy. Straub said he would be willing to honor the court’s ruling.
“How they set this thing up is something that has never been proven,” Straub said. “They (the fees) are not known when you buy things in bankruptcy cases.”
At one point during the hourlong hearing on the application, Straub said he spends more on his polo team in a week than he owes the authority in SID fees and accused the state agency of “blackmailing” him.
“You either believe us or you don’t,” said Straub, before the board dropped the condition from the approval. “I will make the place a success and you will be proud of it.”
As part of the approval, Polo North Country Club Inc. will be required to submit a traffic plan and study within 75 days of approval, as well as a landscaping plan.
“I’m in strong support of this project,” said Mayor Don Guardian, a member of the authority’s board. “We need to do everything that we can do to get TEN opened.”
As the meeting rolled on, a parade of people approached the board in support of the project.
“The gentleman that is here is what we need,” said Valerie McMorris, a member of Unite Here Local 54 negotiations committee. “I hope this can be worked out.”
While some endorsed the plan, residents at the nearby Bella Condominiums are concerned about noise.
“We are very excited for TEN to open,” said Stephanie Segal Miller, a resident of the complex. “All we hear is roaring blowers and piercing noise and it gets worse the higher you go. We want to make sure that our needs are still taken care of.”
The traffic pattern changes include moving the valet drop-off area to the existing valet pickup area. The changes also include redirecting three lanes of traffic from the existing main entrance to one lane of traffic at the current facility exit. This will require changing the existing three-lane exit from the facility to a one-lane entrance with two exit lanes. The changes are required to build a ropes course at the property.
“The CRDA today continued its commitment toward attracting appropriate new investment in the Tourism District,’” said John Palmieri, executive director of the authority.
The property is expected to open during the first quarter of 2017, according to a release from the resort’s management group.
The property features 13 restaurants, a 32,000-square-foot spa, 55,000 square feet of retail space and a parking garage with more than 7,000 spaces.