The promenade outside the Revel as seen in the summer of 2014, a month before the casino closed. The casino and resort plans to open under a new name in late June. (John O’Boyle | Star-Ledger File Photo)
By Amanda Hoover | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
The Ocean Resort Casino, the latest to hit Atlantic City amid a rush for waterfront redevelopment, announced plans to open Thursday, June 28.
The resort’s new owner took over the space in January, working with the bones of failed casino Revel, which closed nearly four years ago after suffering financial difficulties and receiving criticism from customers.
Like the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (which plans to open across the street the same day), the Ocean Resort has promised to bring world-class entertainment and thousands of jobs back to Atlantic City’s languid boardwalk.
Here’s what you need to know about the new, reportedly improved resort.
Where is it?
The station will occupy the closed Revel Casino along the northern end of the promenade.
The building, still under renovation, is the tallest in Atlantic City, at 60 stories and 710 feet tall. It sits on 20 acres of beachfront property at 500 Boardwalk.
Revel CEO Kevin DeSanctis talks about Revel’s casino on the boardwalk as he rode the escalator in March 2012, the month the company received its casino license. (Noah K. Murray | The Big Book of Stars)
What happened to the Revel?
Le Revel opened in 2012, but closed two years later after declaring bankruptcy for the second time. Guests have complained that the setup has a confusing layout, requires two-night stays, prohibits smoking, and favors high-end guests.
Florida real estate developer Glenn Straub bought the property for $82 million in 2015, securing a robbery on the resort that cost $2.6 billion to build. He planned to launch a casino called TEN, but various licensing and zoning regulations blocked the reopening, until he finally stopped jumping through what he considered bureaucratic hoops and sold it to Deifik earlier this year.
In this April 26, 2018 photo, Bruce Deifik, owner of the Ocean Resort Casino, inspects a walkway during the renovation of the former casino in Revel. Deifik corrects what he sees as many errors made by Revel. The new property will allow smoking, offer a buffet, welcome day-trippers and reconfigure the casino floor to make it easier to get around. (Wayne Parry | AP Photo)
Who is the new owner?
Bruce Deifik, a Colorado-based real estate developer, bought the property earlier this year for $200 million.
He is President and CEO of Integrated Properties Inc. The company owns 103 commercial properties in five states, including the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort in Palm Springs, California, and several office and retail centers around Denver. and Phoenix. In January, he called the purchase “a dream come true” and said he intended to learn and avoid the pitfalls that left the Revels strapped for cash.
Diefik told The Associated Press last month that the casino would not open until it was absolutely ready.
“She doesn’t have the luxury of being able to make a mistake without people saying, ‘Aha!'” he said. “I think everyone is looking to find fault; I’m going to make sure that’s not the case.”
Apparently, that day will be June 28.
In this photo from April 26, 2018, a technician installs slot machines on the casino floor of the Ocean Resort Casino during the renovation of the old casino in Revel. (Wayne Parry | AP Photo)
How big is the casino?
The space will house a 138,000-square-foot luxury casino that hopes to cater to both guests staying in the luxury accommodations and day-trippers, something the Revel has failed to do while wooing the upscale clientele.
How many hotel rooms are there?
The hotel has 1,399 rooms, as well as six swimming pools (one of which is saltwater) and a terrace with cabanas. In total, it will have 90,000 square feet of outdoor event space.
The hotel charges a $20 resort fee, which allows guests access to swimming pools and a fitness center.
In partnership with Hyatt, the hotel is part of the The Unbound Collection.
Beyonce helped celebrate Revel’s grand opening celebration over Memorial Day weekend in 2012. Here, she performs during one of her sold-out concerts at Ovation Hall. (Robin Harper | Parkwood Entertainment)
What are the attractions?
Topgolf, which offers simulated golf games, will open a 26,000 square foot facility.
A renovated version of the 5,500-seat Ovation room, which hosted artists like Beyonce during the brief heyday of the Revel, will stay at the station.
For buyers, there will be 70,000 square feet of retail space, with an announcement from sellers pending.
And to relax, The Hyatt expiration provides a 32,000 square foot spa.
What improvements are coming?
When the Revel closed, customers had a lot of complaints. Deifik’s new plan hopes to answer that:
A wall between the promenade and the entrance to the casino which blocked access was demolished and replaced by a more welcoming staircase.
Signage has been added to help customers navigate the expansive casino and surrounding hotel.
The main entrance’s “escalator to the sky” will have glass safety panels on both sides, after many said the steep escalator posed a hazard to guests.
The smoking ban, which was on the city’s dozen casinos, has been lifted and smoking is permitted in designated areas.
A burger at Wahlburges. (XXOOPP | Flickr Creative Commons)
What are the catering options?
The space will feature 16 restaurants, ranging from fine dining to casual joints. Actor Mark Walhburg will have his hand at two of the options, including fast casual burger chain Walhburgers and a bar called Entourage, a themed bar based on the HBO series of the same name.
Answering the call of a classic casino buffet (which the Revel lacked), Ocean Resort will offer many buffet options with food and drink.
The other options have not yet been announced.
Is it family?
In an effort to make the resort a place for everyone, Ocean Resort will feature a large candy store as well as “Cereal Town”, a restaurant serving cereals from around the world – even for dinner. Deifik hopes to attract more families to enjoy the wide range of beach entertainment and attractions.
The casino will also allow pets under 50 pounds.
The resort is a few blocks from the Steel Pier rides, including The Wheel, offering city views from more than 200 feet in the air.
How many jobs will the opening create?
The resort’s revival is expected to bring a slew of jobs, adding to the more than 3,000 hires expected for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in the city.
Since the purchase of Ocean Resort in January, renovation projects have created 300 construction-related projects. Some 3,200 full-time jobs are expected by the opening of the casino in June.
You can find more information about job vacancies and employment opportunities at careers.theoceanac.com.
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