Revel comes alive with help from Christie

Feb 7, 2011 9:28 PM

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, ignoring growing criticism, has pledged $261 million to the renewed construction of the stalled Revel Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City.

With the state’s commitment, J.P. Morgan Chase, hired by Revel Entertainment Group L.L.C. to find the necessary financing for the project, has been pounding the pavement of Wall Street looking for investors.

Christie says Revel has come up with about $1.15 billion to re-start construction work that was halted in January, 2009, with only the exterior completed. When finished in 2012, the hotel will have 1,900 rooms.

When the recession hit, Revel’s original backers, Wall Street’ Morgan Stanley said it had invested $1.2 billion into the project but had written down the asset to $40 million.

At the time, CEO Kevin DeSanctis promised Atlantic City watchers the project was not doomed, but only temporarily delayed. The financing, he predicted, would become available at some point.

That was before Christie’s political appearance, so he couldn’t have known that his biggest supporter would be the state’s future governor. But, right from the time of his inauguration, Christie announced his intentions to do everything possible to revive and regenerate Atlantic City.

Recently legislation that Christie signed into law has been described as Atlantic City’s rescue package.

Spending state money during a period when major budget cuts have affected education and social services has generated a lot of criticism of the new governor.