Better late than never. According to multiple sources, the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City has, finally, been sold to Florida property developer Glenn Straub for $82 million, as reported first back in February. The hotel, which opened in 2012, originally cost $2.4 billion to build. In that regard, Straub got a steal of a deal. But it took a lot of handwringing to get done.
"The deal is closed," attorney Craig Galle declared to NJ.com. The sale comes a day after a federal bankruptcy court judge officially approved the deal to Straub's Polo North Country Club.
The hotel closed last September after twice filing for bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, details about what Straub plans to do with the property are still pending. Word has been that it might not function as a hotel casino anymore. As NJ.com writes, Straub last week announced the acquisition was part of a larger plan dubbed the "Phoenix Project," which would include $500 million in investments in the Atlantic City area.
As has been noted, this conclusion comes on the heels of a history of stops and start, with multiple competing buyers in between.
The Associated Press offers an in-depth timeline of the massive hotel's initial deal followed by the breakdown:
— Sept. 2007: Revel Entertainment and partner Morgan Stanley file plans for a new casino and 3,800 hotel rooms. It would be the first new casino in Atlantic City since the Borgata opened in 2003.
— Jan. 28, 2009: Running out of money halfway through the project, Revel Entertainment lays off 400 workers and slows construction of the casino.
— Apr. 22, 2010: Morgan Stanley decides it is better to take a $932-million loss on Revel than to spend an additional $1 billion to finish the project. Its decision to pull out sets off a scramble for new financing.
— Feb. 1, 2011: Gov. Chris Christie announces Revel has secured its remaining financing. The state authorizes $261 million in tax-increment financing. The aid is to flow only after Revel reaches certain profitability thresholds, which it never does.
— Apr. 2, 2012: Revel opens.
— May 9, 2012: Revel's $13 million in casino winnings ranks it near the bottom of Atlantic City's 12 casinos.
— Aug. 22, 2012: Wall Street ratings agencies downgrade Revel debt after the casino's slow start.
— Dec. 28, 2012: Revel lines up new financing for the second time in less than a year.
— Feb. 19, 2013: Revel announces it will file for bankruptcy in March to eliminate $1 billion in debt by converting it into equity for lenders.
— May 21, 2013: Revel exits bankruptcy court by giving lenders an 82 percent stake in the property.
— June 19, 2014: Revel files for bankruptcy again and warns that it will close if a buyer cannot be found in a court-approved auction.
— Aug. 12, 2014: Revel announces it has failed to find a buyer and will close.
— Sept. 1, 2014: Revel closes.
— Sept. 24, 2014: A bankruptcy court auction of Revel begins, with Florida developer Glenn Straub's $90-million bid providing the base price.
— Oct. 1, 2014: Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management wins auction for Revel with a $110-million bid.
— Nov. 19, 2014: Brookfield walks away from its deal to buy Revel, saying it is unable to reach a deal with the casino's power plant.
— Jan. 5, 2015: Bankruptcy court judge approves sale of Revel to runner-up bidder Glenn Straub for $95.4 million; the deal is stalled within weeks when former business tenants and others appeal it.
— Jan. 21, 2015: Appeals judge allows Revel sale process to continue.
— Feb. 9, 2015: Straub misses deadline to close sale; Revel says it will kill the deal.
— Feb. 24, 2015: Revel, Straub reach new sale deal, this time for $82 million.
— Apr. 2, 2015: Bankruptcy court judge approves sale to Straub.
— Apr. 7, 2015: Sale of Revel to Straub is completed.
And so ends the saga of Revel—for now. But it serves as a cautionary tale about what happens when you build a project of this magnitude without more forethought, combined with some unfavorable, perhaps unavoidable, economic pitfalls. Meanwhile, as the economy improves, how will the Revel—in whatever form it takes—succeed? We will wait and see.