Revel Atlantic City
|Revel Casino Hotel|
Revel, seen from the boardwalk
|Location||Atlantic City, New Jersey|
|Opening date||April 2, 2012|
|Closing date||September 2, 2014|
|Number of rooms||1,399|
|Total gaming space||150,000 sq.ft.|
|Signature attractions||Ovation Hall
Ivan Kane's Royal Jelly Burlesque
|Owner||Polo North Country Club|
|Previous names||Revel Resort|
Revel Atlantic City was a resort, hotel and casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States. Revel is the northernmost casino on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, located on 20 acres (8.1 ha) of land, adjacent to the Showboat Hotel & Casino. Revel opened on April 2, 2012.
After declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the second time, Revel closed on September 2, 2014. Later that month, on September 11, 2014, the casino reached a deal to sell itself to Glenn Straub's Polo North Country Club, a developer based in Florida, for $90 million, a fraction of the cost of construction. The plans fell through, and Revel was planned to be sold at a September 30, 2014 auction to Brookfield Asset Management for $110 million. However, on November 19, Brookfield Management backed out of the deal. On April 7, 2015, Revel was sold to Polo North Country Club for $82 million.
Revel was the third of four Atlantic City casinos to close in 2014.
Polo North has announced its plans to reopen Revel under a different name on June 15, 2016.
Design and construction
Revel's hotel tower is the tallest structure in Atlantic City and the second tallest in the state of New Jersey at 47 stories, and the second tallest casino tower in the United States. Arquitectonica was the design architect of the project. BLT Architects was the executive architect for the entirety of the project and architect of record for 75% of the facility. Tishman Realty & Construction, which served as construction manager for The Borgata, performed the same role at Revel. Scéno Plus, a Montreal-based design firm, aided in the conceptualization and implementation of Revel's 150,000 square feet (14,000 m2) casino. In the summer of 2008 the project was officially scaled back to include just one hotel tower with 1,900 rooms due to lack of financing. In March 2009, construction was stopped because of difficulties in raising the financing necessary to complete the project. Revel resumed construction in February 2011 after new financing was secured, and opened with 1399 rooms.
Revel featured two nightclubs, 13 restaurants, two live entertainment venues (which featured acts like The Eagles, Beyonce, Rihanna and Maroon 5), and multiple swimming pools. The resort featured a 2-acre (8,100 m2) landscaped rooftop deck containing outdoor pools, cabanas, fire pits and a "pine grove" (known as Sky Garden) with more than 30,000 live trees and plants. The casino was located six stories above the ocean, and a three-story nightclub overlooked the lobby. Revel was completely smoke-free upon opening, but the resort announced in early 2013 that it would create a smoking area.
Revel Atlantic City had 130,000 sq ft (12,000 m2) of gaming space, more than 2,500 slot machines, and 120 table games. The casino was separated into several areas, including the following:
- Poker Room (closed in August 2013)
- Table Games – Featured over 120 table games, including blackjack, craps, mini-baccarat, roulette, Let It Ride, Big Six wheel, three card poker, four card poker, Fortune Pai Gow poker, and Spanish 21.
The resort had 3 main restaurants:
- Amada – a Spanish tapas restaurant
- American Cut – a steakhouse
- Azure by Allegretti – specializes in French and Italian coastal cuisine.
Revel offered less formal dining options:
- Alcove – (breakfast)
- Corso Coffee – (coffee and pastries)
- Distrito Cantina – (Mexican take-out)
- Lugo Cucina e Vino – (Italian)
- Luke's Kitchen & Marketplace – (sandwiches, hot dogs, and fast food)
- Mussel Bar – (mussels and imported beers)
- Relish – (24-hour diner)
- Sky Cafe – (eclectic; overlooks ocean)
- Village Whiskey – (burgers)
- Yubōka – (Asian noodle bar).
Construction safety incidents
A tower crane on the Revel construction site collapsed in high winds on March 13, 2010, injuring one person on the ground. On March 20, 2010, the use of welding torches to remove the collapsed crane sparked a rooftop fire. The damage from the fire was minor, and there were no injuries.
Lightning from a brief but intense storm struck three concrete workers on September 15, 2011, killing one. On September 30, 2011, a worker was listed in critical condition with a head injury after falling off a ladder. On September 10, 2012, a customer was severely injured at Revel when he fell off an escalator to the floor 40 feet (12 m) below.
Ray Rice incident
On September 8, 2014, NFL running back Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely following release of video by TMZ showing him assaulting his fiancée in an elevator at Revel earlier in the year. The publication of the security video forced the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL to revisit their positions on the matter, leading the league to extend Rice's suspension (formerly for 2 weeks) and the team to release him. The only public video before September 8, 2014, was from outside of the elevator and showed Ray Rice dragging his unconscious fiancée partially out of the elevator before a hotel employee stopped to help them.
Financial problems and closure
Construction of the resort cost $2.4 billion. Global financial company Morgan Stanley, the owner of 90% of Revel Entertainment Group, decided in April 2010 to discontinue construction and put its stake in Revel up for sale and walk away from its $932 million investment. On February 1, 2011, as part of his plan to revitalize Atlantic City, Governor Chris Christie announced that the State of New Jersey would provide tax incentives up to $261 million in the stalled project in exchange for 20% of certain equity distributions. The tax incentives would be paid for by a portion of state taxes generated by the project. None of the $261 million in tax incentives were paid to Revel. On February 17, 2011, Revel Entertainment Group, LLC announced that it completed a $1.15 billion financing package which enabled the company to complete construction of Revel.
Revel lost $35 million in the 2nd quarter of 2012, and lost $37 million in the 3rd quarter of 2012. In August 2012, Moody's Investor Services and Standard and Poor's downgraded Revel's credit to Caa2 and CCC, respectively. On August 20, 2012, Revel asked lenders for a $100 million credit cushion. In November 2012, casino officials warned federal regulators about growing debt load of more than $1.3 billion could lead to bankruptcy or foreclosure if revenues did not increase in the foreseeable future. Atlantic City officials noted that Revel owed $12 million in unpaid property taxes, and Unite Here Local 54 said that Revel owed $51 million to contractors. A month later, Revel stated that they had received another $150 million in loans, including a $125 million term loan and a $25 million increase to an existing $100 million revolving loan.
In early 2013, because of uncertainty about whether Revel would have enough revenue to pay back its loans, Moody's and Standard and Poor's downgraded Revel's credit rating again to Caa3 and CC, respectively. On February 19, 2013, Revel announced that it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The prepackaged bankruptcy will include immediate payment of all priority claims (e.g., vendors, taxes), and the reduction of Revel's debt from $1.503 billion to $272 million in exchange for the transfer of all of Revel's equity to the creditors. As part of their bankruptcy filing, Revel declared that the casino's value had dropped from $2.4 billion to $450 million, and predicted that Revel would not be profitable until 2017. In an attempt to attract more business, Revel created a smoking area and reduced hotel room prices, and planned to create an inexpensive food court, and a private lounge for high rollers.
On June 19, 2014, Revel once again filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition, warning of closing in early September if a buyer was not found.
The hotel, resort, and casino closed permanently on September 2, 2014. Revel was the third Atlantic City casino to close in 2014, after Showboat Hotel Casino closed on August 31, 2014, following the Atlantic Club Hotel Casino. The hotel was closed on September 1, 2014 at 11:00 am and the casino was closed the next day at 6:00 am. All reservations after September 1 were canceled and room deposits were automatically refunded. All Revel guests who self-parked or utilized the valet were required to remove their parked cars from the facility by 9:00 am on September 2.
Revel Group LLC, headed by former Revel Atlantic City CEO Kevin DeSanctis, released a statement on September 22, 2014, announcing they were terminating their license agreement with Revel, citing "the property has failed to use the licensed marks in a manner consistent with Revel's standards of quality as provided for in its License Agreement."
Toronto-based Brookfield US Holdings LLC won a bankruptcy court auction for Revel on October 1, 2014 and planned to reopen it as-is. It submitted a bid of $110 million in an auction.
A bankruptcy court hearing to approve the sale was scheduled for October 7, 2014. An opposing bidder, Florida developer Glenn Straub, was selected as the backup bidder in case the Brookfield bid did not close on the deal. However Brookfield Management backed out of this deal on November 19, 2014. On January 5, 2015 a federal bankruptcy judge approved the sale of Revel to Polo North Country Club, Inc., led by Straub. On February 11, 2015, due to court battles, the sale to Straub was canceled by Revel. Then, on April 6, 2015, Straub got approval to discuss the sale of the casino to him.
On April 7, 2015, Revel was sold to Glenn Straub's Polo North Country Club for $82 million.
Events after sale to Polo North
Two days after Revel was sold to Polo North Country Club, on the afternoon of April 9, 2015; ACR, owner of the Energenic Inlet District Energy Center (which is the sole source of primary power, backup power, and, hot and chilled water to the Revel) stopped supplying power and water to the building.
On April 29, 2015, after 20 days without power or water, U.S. District Judge Jerome Simandle ordered power and chilled water to be restored to the Revel under a two-week deal between Straub and ACR. Revel facilities staff said limited power was restored around 11:00 am that morning, and engineers said there was no damage done to the building. The deal was later enforced indefinitely.
Revel's chief engineer, John Lezenby, resigned on June 9, 2015, leaving behind nine engineers and four security guards to continue to run the Revel's critical systems. Lezenby stated the uncertain future of the building and the fact that it has been closed to the public as reasons for his resignation.
In late June, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael Kaplan ruled that Revel owner Polo North Country Club Inc. must allow tenants access to the property "to preserve physical assets, as well as to investigate, plan, and take the necessary steps to restart operations."
On September 30, Glenn Straub booted nine unionized workers from the property, leaving the Revel's command center unstaffed. He said the union engineers, from Local 68 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, were overpaid, and announced that Siemens was in the process of training new engineers within 30 days. Engineers have since returned to the property.
On October 9, 2015, Atlantic City Sewerage Co. announced it was suing to bar sewer service to the Revel, citing Straub owing them more than $162,000.
On November 17, an attorney for Polo North said the Revel was "cold, dark and on the verge of suffering widespread property damage", only receiving chilled water since a dispute back in April.
On November 24, Glenn Straub announced he was buying the Energenic power plant from ACR. ACR previously warned the city that bondholders were planning to foreclose on the power plant. The deal was announced after Atlantic City threatened to issue fines and said it would consider litigation if the building’s interior dipped below 40 degrees.
On January 12, 2016, Polo North announced it had completed purchase of the Energenic power plant, and introduced heat and full electricity back to the Revel.
Also in January, Straub announced his plans for the former Revel Resort, including a smaller casino, water park, and other family attractions. He plans to reopen the resort on June 15.
On the night of February 29, 2016, the signature Pearl at the top of Revel was lit for the first time since the resort closed. The next morning on March 1, Straub said it was part of an ongoing effort to test systems at the Revel in preparation for the anticipated June 15 opening. Straub also said he expects to have 500 hotel rooms ready to go and most, if not all, of the property's restaurants up and running, stating that the restaurant owners have been wanting to reopen since the property originally closed. Additionally, he stated the reopened resort will not be named Revel, but he has yet to decide on a name.
On Tuesday, March 15, 2016, Atlantic City officials Dale Finch (Director of Licence & Inspections) Elizabeth Terenik (Director of Planning & Development), Scott Evans (Fire Chief), and Wally Shields (Construction Official) conducted an inspection of Revel, escorted by Revel’s facilities manager. After a 90-minute tour, officials stated that Revel is ready for business, and that it's “amazingly intact” and in “great condition”, dispelling many rumors about the condition of the property.
The officials also said that clubs are ready but HQ is not part of the reopening plan, the swimming pools are in good condition, there are at least 500 guest rooms that are currently ready, clean, and complete with bedding, artwork, lighting, and other fixtures, and that restaurants and gaming floors are ready to go. In addition, there is now a ropes course in the lobby. Glenn Straub said a job fair is planned and that they are looking to bring back as many former Revel employees as possible to the new Revel, and that it's ready to open as soon as possible.
As of June 13, 2016, Glenn Straub announced plans to reopen the resort with a small casino, rope-climbing course, water park, a zip line, an e-sports lounge, equestrian facility, beach cabanas, and a bike endurance course in a section of the modern parking garage. Surfing, wind surfing, and scuba lessons will also be available.
The new resort will also feature a 32-room spa where guests can have medical beauty treatments performed. In July, a white-sand beach area with pools and volleyball courts dubbed Nikki Beach will open in the former porte cochere area. Inside Revel, a burlesque show and comedy club will be opened in either The Social or HQ, both former nightclubs at the property.
Later in the year, 10 restaurants will be opened, along with a rock-climbing wall, three 75-seat movie theaters, a skydiving course, and a heliport for high rollers to be flown to and from Revel.
Straub has yet to announce a new name for the resort; however he did give a hint, stating, "We have some Asian painters coming up with the artwork". Straub's team has not held a job fair or hired staff to run the operation, apart from the few facilities and security staff that were inherited with the purchase of the Revel in 2015. While the property is still lacking a phone number or website, Straub said anyone who learns the resort is open is welcome to check in.
- Gambling in New Jersey
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As part of the bankruptcy, (a) $10 million in bankruptcy fees, and $22 million in administrative and priority claims will be paid immediately; (b) all of Revel's equity will be transferred to lenders; (c) 3 loans with $1.503 billion in principal and interest will be converted to a 5-year $260 million term loan, and a 4-year $12 million revolving loan, both with quarterly payments; (d) Revel will have minimal cash balance, and access to an additional $63 million in revolving loans.
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