It wasn’t the first time he’d threatened to pack his bags and abandon the Revel. In fact, it wasn’t even the first time he’d threatened to do so this month. But Glenn Straub, the mercurial owner of the $2.4 billion defunct casino at the northeast end of the Atlantic City boardwalk, stormed out of a land-use meeting early Thursday afternoon, amid unspecific accusations of blackmail, saying he would “shut down” the mega-resort, which he bought for pennies on the dollar in 2015, “forever.” Revel is the second-largest building in the state of New Jersey, and the largest god-damned casino hotel in Atlantic City history. It has been closed for more than two years.
Glenn Straub, the developer who owns the Atlantic City property formerly known as the Revel casino, and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), are hoping to finish the approval process to reopen the site by the end of September, according to documents filed with CRDA on Wednesday. Straub has been complaining to local media about the drawn-out approval process, while CRDA, which governs planning in Atlantic City’s Tourism District, rejected the earlier application because of concerns about access to the site, since Straub wanted to locate a ropes course in the building’s former main entrance. A successful relaunch for the property is key for cash-strapped Atlantic City and, more widely, for Atlantic County. The Revel property is a top taxpayer and the $2.6 billion site has been a looming empty eyesore on the boardwalk since closing in September 2014. The application that Straub made on appeal includes concessions and suggested changes to the vehicle access to the property.
Sometime around lunch on Monday of this week, Bill Terrigino of 227 Metropolitan Avenue stood outside gardening in one of the two yards on either side of his home in the South Inlet neighborhood of Atlantic City. Close readers of this space may remember Bill as the oft-chronicled inhabitant of a charming, cedar-sided Victorian house, nearly 110 years old, that has the interesting fate of being located directly across the street from the Revel casino hotel resort, the second-tallest building in the state of New Jersey and the most notorious casino flop in the history of Atlantic City and probably of the world, which sat about 50 feet to the west of Bill’s geraniums,* humming like a spaceship that was running out of electricity. Revel’s owner, an eccentric millionaire named Glenn Straub, had set that coming Wednesday–about 48 hours in the future–as the deadline for what’s been described as a grand reopening, a “soft” opening, a “real soft” opening and a “flaccid” flop (the local press corps has some bros in it). Which made Bill’s neighborhood once again a subject of some media interest. Bill, who’d worked as a banquet waiter at the Golden Nugget back in the 80s, had lived with his family in the Inlet since the early 1990s, and had been in his house well over a decade when work began on the gargantuan Revel, and the South Inlet was turned into the biggest construction site New Jersey.
SOMETIMES IN THE SOUL’S DARK NIGHT or when I just have nothing better to do, I like to go trawling through old books or magazine articles about Atlantic City to find the passages where the town is compared to an aging prostitute.