The new owner of Atlantic City's Revel casino can terminate the leases of former business tenants there, a judge ruled Monday.
The decision by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Gloria Burns frees Glenn Straub to either renegotiate new leases with the former tenants, including restaurants and nightclubs, or seek new firms to rent space once the facility reopens. It also almost surely means more litigation between the tenants and Straub, this time in state court.
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"I don't think he's looking for a complete new set of tenants," said Straub's lawyer, Stuart Moskovitz. "He's looking for reasonable lease adjustments."
Straub's Polo North Country Club bought Revel out of bankruptcy court for $82 million on April 7. Its sole source of utility service, ACR Energy Partners, cut off power two days later because both sides could not reach agreement on a deal for future service there. Revel shut down in September.
Wells Fargo, Revel's main lender, has offered $300,000 to restore power for two weeks, but Moskovitz and ACR lawyers both said no decision has yet been made on that offer.
Atlantic City has been fining Straub $5,000 for each day that the power is off at Revel because it violates fire safety codes mandating that fire detection and suppression systems remain continuously operational.
The fire department warned in February that without water flowing through the building's pipes and electricity to get firefighters to upper floors, firefighting efforts at the 47-story building would be next to impossible. At 710 feet, Revel is the second-tallest building in New Jersey, after the Goldman Sachs building in Jersey City.
Straub then hired portable generators, intending to use them for power, but was blocked by state environmental authorities, saying they would likely violate federal air pollution laws. ACR obtained a temporary restraining order last week barring Straub from attempting to hook up to any of the company's electrical equipment.
The Florida developer had planned to try to open at least part of the complex for the summer, but he has been beset by delays involving utility service to the building, which also no longer has heat, air conditioning or water service.
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC