ATLANTIC CITY — An enraged Glenn Straub accused the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and other state agencies of holding up the reopening up of the 6-million-square-foot Revel during a hearing Thursday morning.
The 70-year-old Revel owner and Florida businessman made the accusations during an authority land-use hearing after being questioned about landscaping improvements.
Following the questions, Straub sprung from his seat, gathered his belongings and launched into a nearly two-minute tirade about the unfriendly business atmosphere in the city and the state before storming out of the meeting.
“You have to give me a chance, I’m trying to help,” Straub said while angrily gesturing at the CRDA officials. “I’ve done business in five states and this is 10 times worse than all of the others. I’ll go back to Miami, go back to Palm Beach, go back to Ohio, go back to West Virginia. How many other people are spending money? ”
In August, Straub was in front of the board for changes to the site’s traffic-flow patterns. The agency ruled that more information was needed and the hearing would be continued. Thursday’s hearing was a continuation of that meeting.
“We got $200,000 in this simple application,” Straub said. “You come in here with $150 million to spend in your city and this is what you get. You are not going to blackmail us.”
Straub, like other developers, is required to meet the requirements for doing business in the city’s tourism district, said Paul Weiss, CRDA Chief Legal Officer.
“The CRDA land use department has a legal responsibility to ensure that the law is followed,” Weiss said in a statement. “All applicants must meet those legal requirements. These public hearings are a legally mandated part of that process and apply equally to every business in the Tourism District.”
Straub previously claimed the former megaresort was ready to open June 15, despite lacking several key permits, including from the authority.
At one point during the diatribe, Straub threatened to withdraw the application, but the meeting continued after a short recess. During the recess, Straub left the building.
Despite the drama, the land use division said it would draft a report and send it to the authority’s board of directors for their review. The board is scheduled to meet on Sept. 20.
Straub needs CRDA approvals before applying to the city for a temporary certificate of occupancy.
“I’m tired of having government stand in my way,” Straub said. “Looks like my time is up.”
Straub has said a reopened Revel will allow visitors to partake in scuba diving, windsurfing and cooking lessons, spa treatments, a zipline, a ropes course called Skytrail and a 13-floor endurance bicycling course.
He also has said he plans to open 900 of the hotel's 1,600 rooms for customers. Polo North bought the $2.4 billion Revel complex for $82 million in bankruptcy court. Revel closed in 2014.
“I’ve seen the property, and it’s ready to open,” said John Heinze, owner of Triax Streaming TV, during the hearing. “I don’t want to see additional delays. He has all of the pieces to make it launch. If we delay, with the pending state takeover, the project could be abandoned.”
During the hearing, Nicholas Talvacchia, Straub’s attorney, would not give a specific date for when the property would be reopened.
“The goal is to open sooner rather than later,” Talvacchia said.