ATLANTIC CITY — Glenn Straub took a giant step away from the failed Revel brand Monday, as a management team announced a total rebranding of the casino hotel Straub bought out of bankruptcy.
The team is calling it TEN, as in “the TEN brand symbolizes perseverance” — which Straub arguably has shown, and continues to need, in trying to get still-outstanding approvals from city and state agencies. The new group, which includes Revel’s original chief financial officer, is aiming to reopen the property by March 2017.
Straub said in an interview that he had signed a 25-year lease “worth millions” with the team. He said the team paid $22,000 to branding professionals for the TEN name and logo, making his earlier offer of $10,000 for a new name moot.
Bob Labanara, spokesman for the new team, said TEN will keep the Revel ball lit at the top of the building.
The mercurial Straub at first denied any knowledge of the team or its rebranding, saying, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He subsequently said the management team had issued the news release independently of him. But he confirmed that the team has the lease, which he said was contingent upon his getting a casino license.
“I have a tenant that goes ahead and does a news release,” he said. “That’s not us doing it.”
The release came a day before Straub is to appear at the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to get site approval for the $2 billion property, which he bought for $82 million. He also needs a certificate of occupancy.
Straub has complained that New Jersey’s bureaucracy is blocking his opening and has ranted at public hearings. But Monday marked the first evidence of management with industry experience, albeit a mixed track record.
The announcement names as TEN’s chief executive officer Robert A. Landino, who owns an architectural and engineering firm, and is involved in a solar energy firm and a clothing company. He is also a former developer of a stalled, $63 million, publicly financed minor league baseball stadium in Hartford, Conn. His company was terminated by the City of Hartford in June, according to the Hartford Courant.
TEN’s chief financial officer is Alan Greenstein, who served in the same capacity at Revel before it closed in 2014 after little more than two years of operation.
Greenstein was part of the original Revel team headed by Kevin DeSanctis. He served from December 2006 to July 2013, after the first bankruptcy.
In an interview, Greenstein said the financial structure of the new venture eliminates many of the issues that plagued Revel. Straub paid $30 million to purchase Revel’s power source, eliminating an onerous financing agreement many blame for Revel’s collapse. In addition, in stark contrast to the heavily leveraged Revel, the property is now debt-free, Greenstein noted.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be back,” he said. “I have so much invested in this property. Based on the economics of the landlord-tenant agreement, the property has a lot of potential to make a lot of money.”
In his effort to get a casino license, Straub has attorneys trying to get him to the finish line.
Greenstein said the company had hired 16 managers who, unlike Revel, are “seasoned executives in the Atlantic City market.” He said the lease covered 80 percent of the property. He said as many as 3,000 people would staff a new resort.
“In many ways TEN is about a resurgence and commitment to the virtues of Atlantic City as a vintage East Coast destination,” Landino said in the announcement.
It promised 13 restaurants, a spa, two theaters, three nightclubs, a day club and five pool areas, plus 130,000 square feet of gaming. The restaurants and clubs that leased space at Revel made money, and have said they would reopen under new management.
The new logo of TEN is a lopsided infinity sign. Straub said it was unlikely anyone would claim the $10,000 he offered for a new name, as the TEN people paid for the branders.
The new managers said they plan to place the TEN name on the building, which as Revel had its iconic ball but no name on the building.
Some were skeptical: “Named for how many months it will be in business?” tweeted poker professional Jamie Kerstetter.
Four casinos closed in 2014 along the Boardwalk, and the Trump Taj Mahal is scheduled to close Oct. 10. Showboat, now owned by developer Bart Blatstein, has reopened as a non-casino hotel.
At a land-use division hearing this month at the CRDA, Straub threatened to abandon the project after being asked for additional landscaping plans for the property, which is surrounded with overgrown weeds — though window washers have been at work of late.
Greenstein said that the property was in excellent shape, and that it was up to Straub to get his casino license.
“Let’s face it,” Greenstein said. “He’s very passionate about what he believes. He's spent $112 million out of his own pocket. He’s just tenacious. He’s a great businessman.”