A Beacon of Light for Atlantic City, Sort Of

The ball at the top of Revel lit up again. Glenn Straub says he has plans to re-open the failed casino this summer. Will it actually happen?

Revel - Atlantic City - Revel ball

Revel on September 1st, 2014, the day before it closed. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

It may not have been the greatest beacon of light, but Atlantic City will take what it can get.

The ball at the top of the Revel lit up earlier this week, as if to remind the town that, yes, a $2.5 billion casino did open here and close less than three years later. (Revel is the tallest building in the city.)

The most important thing we learned from the Revel ball’s illumination is this: Revel has power. Owner Glenn Straub purchased the power plant from the owners he had been feuding with last year, and so the biggest hurdle to the casino’s reopening is cleared. Baby steps.

The Associated Press talked to Straub, who said it was an equipment test for the possible re-opening of the casino this summer. “We haven’t been sitting around for 10 months doing nothing,” he 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.”

Chuck Bragitikos, head of Vibrant Development Group, told the Inquirer a June 15th opening “would be very challenging.” Straub was enthusiastic in an interview with the paper: “We’ll have horses going around the ball, new name on the ball. We don’t have any colors for it. We have to bring in the big boys now.”

The ball at Revel, also known as The Revel Pearl, was designed by Mitch Gorshin, who was Revel’s executive director of fun and creative. In a detail that’s always mentioned (and with good reason), Gorshin’s dad Frank played The Riddler on the 1960s Batman TV show. The ball wasn’t on the renderings and was the only branding on Revel.

Gorshin’s inspiration was the foil that was wrapped around a slice of pizza he got at a nearby restaurant. He balled up the foil and held it aloft near the top of Revel’s tower. It looks like it’s about to slide down the slanted roof of the tower. “This is a work of art,” he said. “I look at this as something you might see at the Museum of Modern Art.”

So maybe we’ll get a new Revel this summer. Or maybe the lit-up ball was, as Straub told the Inquirer, “just us playing around.” He doesn’t have a casino license. He’s floated various plans before. This is the man whose current morning ritual is waking up in his yacht in Atlantic City and going to McDonald’s. He’s already offered to sell the casino. Who knows what will come next for Atlantic City’s great casino savior that wasn’t.

Follow @dhm on Twitter.