Firm cancels plan to buy closed Revel

ATLANTIC CITY — A Toronto-based company is abandoning its plan to buy the former Revel in Atlantic City, dealing another blow to a city reeling from a string of casino closures and the disappearance of thousands of jobs.

Brookfield Asset Management said in a brief statement Wednesday that it had “terminated the Revel acquisition.”

The company planned to buy the casino for $110 million from bankruptcy court. It had said it would reopen the business as a casino-hotel but never said how soon that would happen.

Revel opened in April 2012 at a cost of $2.4 billion and never turned a profit. After filing for its second bankruptcy, its owners closed the casino resort on Sept. 2.

Brookfield’s announcement came as hundreds of casino workers were protesting a planned shutdown of the Trump Taj Mahal, which would become the fifth Atlantic City casino to close this year if it shutters in December as threatened.

Casino revenues have been falling for years as a result of increased competition, including from neighboring Pennsylvania, now the second largest commercial gambling market in the nation.

When the first Pennsylvania casino opened in late 2006, Atlantic City’s annual casino revenues were $5.2 billion. Last year they were $2.86 billion, and they will be significantly less than that this year.

Brookfield’s decision to walk away from the deal was first reported by The Press of Atlantic City.

Brookfield spokesman Melissa Coley told the newspaper that the decision stemmed from a disagreement with bondholders controlling debt related to Revel’s power plant.

A Florida developer who lost the bankruptcy court auction of Revel was challenging the court’s decision to sell the property to Brookfield. Glenn Straub told The Press that he is still interested in the property. He had spoken of re-opening Revel as an academy but said he was not certain if it would retain a casino.

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