Atlantic City’s Revel Casino Might Become A University

Image via Flickr/ Grant Guarino

Revel Casino, which opened two years ago in Atlantic City, recently shuttered its doors in what the Washington Post called an “economic implosion.” A week after the casino was closed, however, Florida real estate developer Glenn Straub offered to buy the building for $90 million. His plan for Revel? Turn it into a school.

Straub told the Press of Atlantic City that he would like to complete the developers’ original plans by adding a 30-storey tower next to the 57-storey hotel and casino to hold a “university for geniuses.” According to Reuters, Straub envisions this school as a place where people would work on the “big issues of the day,” such as ending world hunger, curing cancer and storing nuclear waste. He envisions funding coming from each student donating 2 percent of their lifetime income after they graduate.

$90 million might sound like a lot, but Revel Casino cost a grand total of $2.4 billion to build. As the Philadelphia Business Journal notes, it never turned a profit during the two years it was open, making Straub’s bid a welcome chunk of cash, especially considering that Revel is the not the only casino to close recently; Atlantic City is struggling financially, and is desperately looking for ways to either refurbish or reinvent itself.

There is, however, some doubt over whether Straub’s grand plans will revitalize the city, or indeed come to anything at all. In addition to the university, he is also proposing high-speed rail and ferry routes to connect gamblers and tourists to New York City, an improved airport and an underground tunnel to connect various casinos throughout Atlantic City — ambitious goals that would appear to involve Straub slowly taking over the city, hopefully in a non-comic-book-villain type of way.

“When you start off with these kinds of ideas, to my eyes, it doesn’t give you a whole lot of confidence,” Democratic Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo told Reuters. He did, however, note that any kind of new venture would open the doors to more employment in the area.

For Straub’s part, he believes that Atlantic City doesn’t need another casino. “We want people who will cure the world of its hiccups,” he told Reuters.