The former Revel Casino Hotel could sell for $90 million cash if no other bid is received by a Sept. 23 deadline, according to court documents filed Wednesday.
Glenn Straub, a Florida-based real estate mogul and president of the bidding company Polo North Country Club Inc, is the first bidder and has deposited $10 million in cash into an escrow account in connection with the asset purchase agreement under the name Polo APA.
If no other qualifying bid is received by the Sept. 23 deadline, in advance of a 9 a.m. Sept. 24 auction hearing, Glenn Straub would be the buyer of the casino property, which was built for $2.4 billion.
The shuttered and bankrupt casino intends to move forward with an auction and sale process in connection with the bid, subject to higher and better offers, according to a statement from Revel Wednesday.
Revel is also asking the court to approve a $3 million breakup fee for Straub, which he would be paid if the deal doesn't go through.
"I was aware of two companies that have been looking seriously and had the financial whereabouts that were acceptable to Revel, obviously this one came through," Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian said on the Ask the Mayor radio talk show Wednesday evening on WPG 1450 AM with Harry Hurley.
He said he did not know what Straub would do with the casino property, in the event Straub is the winning bidder.
Straub's bid is legally termed a "stalking horse" bid, which allows distressed companies to avoid low bids on their assets. The $90 million serves as the lowest possible bid acceptable to the sellers, and all other bidders must come in with higher bids.
Revel said they had not found any qualified bidders during an initial bid period and during an extension on that bid period, in early August.
The casino closed Sept. 2., about two years after opening in 2012, and after filing for bankruptcy twice during that time period. The closing left 2,800 people out of work.
The casino broke ground just before the recession. It ran out of money halfway through construction and had to drop its plans for a second hotel tower while scrambling for the remaining $1 billion or so needed to finish the project. When it opened, Revel was so laden with debt that it couldn't bring in enough revenue to cover it.
The idea behind Revel was to open a totally different resort, a seaside pleasure palace that just happened to have a casino as one of its features. That included Atlantic City's only total smoking ban, which alienated many gamblers; the lack of a buffet and daily bus trips to and from the casino; and the absence of a players' club. By the time those decisions were reversed, it was already too late. High room and restaurant prices hurt, too.
"Revel is one of the most extraordinary structures, frankly, that I have ever seen," Izzy Posner, executive director of the Richard Stockton College’s Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism, said Wednesday night.
Posner said someone with vision and patience could really get some value from the building if they intend to re-purpose it.
Polo North Country Club Inc is based in Wellington, Fla., and is one of Straub's 13 corporate affiliations.
Both Revel and the Showboat closed down over Labor Day weekend. Trump Plaza plans to close on Sept. 16, and the Atlantic Club closed in January. Trump Entertainment Resorts also filed for bankruptcy this week and threatened to close the Taj Mahal casino in November if it can't cut its expenses.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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