CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) - The Florida developer trying to buy Atlantic City's former Revel casino said Thursday that he's interested in acquiring other properties in and around the resort town.
CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — The Florida developer trying to buy Atlantic City's former Revel casino said Thursday that he's interested in acquiring other properties in and around the resort town.
Glenn Straub was seeking bankruptcy court approval Thursday to buy Revel. Straub's Polo North Country Club has an $82 million deal to buy Revel that is being considered by the court.
Revel officials and consultants testified Thursday that Straub's deal is the only real one that exists.
Straub also testified that he has a contract on his desk to acquire other properties, including the former Showboat casino.
That building is at the heart of a dispute between Trump Entertainment Resorts over whether the Showboat can be converted into a college campus for Stockton University. Stockton's president has said the future of the property appeared more positive, but would not reveal details.
Straub said he intended over this weekend "to sign a contract ... for the acquisition of other casinos around it." He specifically mentioned the Showboat, but did not reveal details of his plans.
During a break in the hearing, Straub wouldn't confirm that Showboat is one of the casinos he has plans to acquire. He said his deal is "to acquire other casinos; Showboat is one of 12 casinos." He then disappeared into a private conference room to huddle with Revel lawyers.
While testifying, Straub alluded to a $500 million plan involving numerous locations in Atlantic City, including a marina, possibly something involving the former Bader Field airport, and other locations.
"I can bring an additional 30,000 people a month into this city," he said.
A spokeswoman for Stockton did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Ramy Ibrahim, senior vice president of Moelis & Company, which has been vetting bidders for Revel, said 18 parties expressed interest over the past month, and two had signed contract offers to buy it. But none had reached a final deal with Revel.
Shaun Martin, Revel's chief restructuring officer, said the only other valid offer made for Revel was a $110 million bid made last fall by Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management that was yanked shortly afterward.
"There's never been anyone else besides Brookfield that has actually put their money on the table," he said.
Straub asked the Judge Gloria Burns to approve the sale to him on Thursday, saying time is of the essence if he is to reopen the property in time for summer.
"We have to get started," he said. "This is less than a month and a half from now."
Referring to an estimated investment in reconfiguring the building, Straub said, "I can't afford to sit on $150 million."
He has floated a vast array of proposals for the property, including a smaller casino, a water park, a health-themed spa resort, and a "genius academy" where the world's top minds would gather to tackle society's most pressing problems.
Shaun Martin, Revel's chief restructuring officer, said opposition from former business tenants and Revel's utility supplier has vastly complicated efforts to sell the property, even to recently-emerged buyers.
"Look, I'd love to be encouraged," he said. "This is a very difficult asset to get your head around and purchase. After another 30 days has gone by, we're still left with only one buyer."
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC