ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – The former lender to Atlantic City's Revel casino is offering $300,000 to get electricity turned back on at the complex.
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Wells Fargo acknowledges it no longer has anything to do with the building, which was bought on April 7 by Florida developer Glenn Straub.
But the company is offering to pay for two weeks of electrical service from proceeds of the $82 million sale to prevent a possible catastrophe if the 47-story building catches fire. The fire department says battling a blaze there without water or electricity to get firefighters to upper floors would be nearly impossible.
At issue is a literal power struggle between Straub's Polo North Country Club and the utility company, ACR Energy Partners, that is the building's sole supplier of electricity, water, heat and air conditioning. The two sides have been unable to agree to a contract for future utility service there, and ACR cut off service two days after Straub took over the casino-hotel.
"As a matter of public interest for the City of Atlantic City and the State of New Jersey, Wells Fargo is concerned that the impasse between ACR and Polo North is creating a potentially dangerous situation with respect to the building and its surrounding area," Wells Fargo attorney Thomas Kreller wrote in a letter filed with the federal bankruptcy court at one minute before midnight Friday night. "Due to the obvious and imminent public safety issues, time is of the essence."
Atlantic City is fining Straub $5,000 for each day the fire systems are not working.
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Wells Fargo's offer is contingent on ACR providing two weeks of electricity at the utility's cost, and that Straub agree to use that power to re-energize fire detection and suppression systems inside Revel, make sure an aircraft warning light at the top of the 710-foot-tall building is working, and provide perimeter lighting around the property.
ACR attorney Timothy Lowry said Saturday that the company is considering Wells Fargo's offer. Straub did not respond to a request for comment.
Revel shut down on Sept. 2 after just over two years of operation. It cost $2.4 billion to build, and never turned a profit.
Straub had hoped to have at least part of the complex reopened by summer as a scaled-down casino with numerous other uses, but delays due to the utility situation have thus far prevented those preparations from moving forward.
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC