On Monday night, the giant white ball at the top of the 47-story former Revel casino in Atlantic City was illuminated for what may have been the first time since September 2014 when the casino shut down.
The lighting was part of the equipment testing in preparation for the opening of 500 hotel rooms as well as most, if not all, of the facility’s restaurants on June 15, said owner Glenn Straub. “We haven’t been sitting around for 10 months doing nothing,” Straub said. “We’re not going to have all 1,800 rooms open; we’ll probably have 500 open that day. All the restaurants will be open, I think. They’ve been wanting to re-open since the day it closed,” as reported by the Associated Press.
Straub’s license application isn’t completed yet and while he does have plans to re-open the casino there as well, considering the fact that New Jersey’s licensing process is a long drawn out one, most likely it will not open this year. When it does re-open, it won’t be called Revel he says, though a new name hasn’t been decided on. “That’s a hard word; it doesn’t mean anything,” Straub said. “It’s definitely not going to be ‘Revel.'”
The Revel opened in April of 2012, but never turned a profit and went bankrupt on two occasions, and closed on September 2, 2014. The Florida real estate developer purchased the casino, which cost $2.4 billion to build, out of bankruptcy in April 2015 for $82 million, but wasn’t able to do anything with the property due to a legal battle with the former power supplier, ACR Energy Partners. In November 2015, Straub announced that after cutting a deal with ACR Energy and Bank of New York Mellon he would purchase the power plant.
The illumination of the gigantic ball, which was designed by Mitch Gorshin, was part of ongoing systems testing throughout the building, Straub said. Gorshin’s father Frank played The Riddler, the arch-villain on the 1960’s “batman” television show. Gorshin said the idea for the ball came to him while he was eating a slice of pizza and walking back to the casino. After finishing the slice of pizza he crumpled up the aluminum foil that the pizza was on into a tiny ball and just as he was about to dispose of it he held it up and saw it as it aligned with the roof of the casino. Numerous patterns and illuminated colors on the ball are created by a computer program, which when activated can be seen for miles.
In January Straub confirmed his plans to start development work on the former Revel casino site. He also recently announced that he will build another casino at the site, but it will be half the size of the existing casino. In phase one of the project, Straub plans to use half of the property to develop an entertainment facility that will house a water park. That construction is slated to begin in May, with hotel rooms open to the public from June. Phase two will include the development of the smaller casino, but according to Straub he has no specific timeline for the casino’s opening.