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US – Polo North Country Club plans summer reopening for Revel

By - 3 March 2016

At least half of Atlantic City’s failed Revel Casino Hotel could be open again by June 15 with Florida-based Polo North Country Club promising that a third of the hotel rooms, a gaming floor and all the restaurants will be operational by the summer.

The boardwalk property, the most expensive casino in Atlantic City and one which was once seen as the whole city’s saviour, has been shut since September 2014, having never made a profitable month. Polo North Country Club’s owner Glenn Straub, who bought the $2.4bn property for $82m last April said the property would be given a new name when it reopens.

Talking to the Associated Press he said: “It’s definitely not going to be ‘Revel. It doesn’t mean anything. We’re not going to have all 1,800 rooms open; we’ll probably have 500 open that day. All the restaurants will be open, I think. They’ve been wanting to re-open since the day it closed.”

Atlantic City’s Licensing and Inspection Chief said Mr. Straub will however have to secure a certificate of occupancy, a gaming licence and permits to reopen the restaurants, the hotel and to carry out any construction work. Mr. Straub plans to hire a casino group to operate the gaming floor.

To mark the announcement and also to test equipment, he giant white ball on top of the 47-story building was illuminated for the first time since it shut.

The issue of which restaurants and bars can reopen and if indeed all Revel’s former occupants should see their former contracts reinstated remains in the dark though, locked in litigation.
Altogether they paid $3.3m to secure the right to operate at Revel.
Bankruptcy-court papers have revealed that $240,000 of alcohol, beer, wine and liquor remain in the property.

Some restaurant owners have filed an emergency motion with the bankruptcy court, claiming Polo North Country Club has issued‘increasingly burdensome, time-consuming, expensive and unmerited demands and conditions.’

Mr. Straub has countered claimed though that the tenants are taking items left behind that may legally belong to him.
The move to reopen as a hotel casino will have caught some off guard. Plans so far have included a variety of proposed uses including a water park, condominiums, a health-themed spa, an equestrian facility, a satellite campus for Stockton University and a temporary centre for Syrian refugees.

Mr. Straub has endured untold problems since acquiring the property for 96 per cent of its original value. One of the biggest headaches has been with ACR Energy Partners, the utility company who some view as being the nail in Revel’s coffin. Mr. Straub and ACR have sued and counter sued over unpaid bills from before the takeover.

It then tried to stop him connecting boilers up inside the property.
The utility company said in a court filing last year: “Despite having had many months to contract for a long-term energy supply and arrange for the necessary heat to prevent the pipes in the Revel complex from freezing, Polo North has waited until the eve of winter to concoct a temporary heating plan that both unequivocally uses ACR’s equipment without authorisation and threatens that equipment.”

With regards to the gaming floor, Mr. Straub informed that it would be half the size of the former casino. Previously, it covered 130,000 sq ft (of floor space with more than 2,500 slots and 120 table games. Construction work on a water park is slated to begin in May. The next phase will see the reopening of the smaller casino although Mr.Straub he said is not working to a specific timeline.

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