US – US$200m spend to reopen RevelBy Lewis - 14 November 2014
Brookfield Asset Management, the Toronto-based asset management firm that owns the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and the Atlantis Island casino in the Bahamas, has said that it intends to reopen Atlantic City’s Revel casino next year, but has yet to set a a specific date. The new owners have, however, pledged to spend US$200m upon the currently shuttered property having paid $110 million for the failed luxury casino earlier this year.
Revel, which opened in 2012 at a cost of $2.4bn, never turned a profit and closed in September after twice declaring bankruptcy. Revel is one of four casinos to close in 2014 as Atlantic City’s gaming market struggles to sustain itself.
Brookfield paid just $110 million for Revel in a highly contested bankruptcy sale that still faces court challenges. The losing bidder, Florida developer Glenn Straub, who bid US$95m for Revel, has tried to get the sale overturned, complaining that the auction was held behind closed doors that lacked transparency.
The Chairman of the Casino Reinvestment Redevelopment Authority, James Kehoe, has stated that the sale of Revel marks a turning point for Atlantic City’s fortunes, predicting that: “The bottom of Atlantic City will be behind us.” However, the city continues to face challenges. Last week, United Airlines announced it will end flights to Atlantic City International Airport from Chicago and Houston on December 3, just eight months after launching the service.
It has also been revealed that Richard Stockton College has made a bid to buy the shuttered Showboat casino, turning the casino into a campus. It’s a move that has the backing of Caesars Entertainment Chariman, Gary Loveman. “The transformation and revitalisation of Atlantic City requires the addition of a diverse set of reasons for people to come visit,” said Mr. Loveman. ”I believe the construction of a Stockton campus there will help to diversify the economy of the City, which is critical to its future well-being.”