ATLANTIC CITY — Could there have been a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino at the closed Revel?

Before purchasing the shuttered Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, Hard Rock International and its partners, the Jingoli and Morris families, explored the idea of purchasing the 6 million-square-foot Revel, now known as TEN, said Jim Allen, CEO of Hard Rock International.

“We looked at Revel,” Allen said Thursday. “We are excited for the Taj Mahal. The Taj is one of the great assets in gaming on the East Coast.”

Last week, Carl Icahn, owner of the Taj Mahal, announced the property, once owned by President Donald Trump, was being sold to the group.

As part of the Taj Mahal project, the site will be rebranded the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City as part of a $300 million purchase and renovation project. The project is expected to open in summer 2018. While no purchase price was given, the property was valued at $86 million, according to Icahn Enterprises’ 2016 financial report.

“The Taj thing, it just kind of happened,” Joseph Jingoli said Wednesday. “We were trying to do the Revel, and then this came up.”

But Glenn Straub, owner of the former Revel, denied discussions happened over the sale of the property to the group. In August 2015, Straub bought the $2.4 billion Revel for $82 million in bankruptcy court. Over the past year and a half, Straub has missed several self-imposed deadlines to reopen the property. Last month, Straub claimed Revel would be open by Presidents Day weekend, but the holiday weekend came and went with little movement at the property.

“Never talked with anyone about Revel,” Straub said regarding Hard Rock’s interest. “When I purchased the property, many people made offers.”

Allen, who has a home in Linwood, said the Taj Mahal fits the Hard Rock’s needs.

“First, it’s designed to the highest levels. When it opened, it was a $1.2 billion property,” Allen said. “The layout, the amount of rooms, Etess Arena, Xanadu made it attractive to us.”

The renovations and property are expected to generate 3,000 jobs, officials have said.

While Hard Rock is an excellent addition to the Boardwalk, it doesn’t solve all of the city’s problems, said Steve Norton, a former Atlantic City casino executive who runs a consulting company, Norton Management LLC.

“Hard Rock and the Seminole Tribe would be an excellent addition to Atlantic City, especially for the Boardwalk,” Norton said. “But by themselves, they don’t solve the absence of demand for 200 midweek days and nights in the fall, winter and spring.”

Contact: 609-272-7046 Twitter @acpresshuba

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