ATLANTIC CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The new owner of a failed Atlantic City casino has proposed re-purposing the grounds for a variety new concepts — an indoor water park, a medical tourism resort, an equestrian facility and even a so-called ‘genius academy’ to foster leaders tackling societal issues.
But as the fate and future of Revel Casino and Spa hangs in the balance, owner Glenn Straub has proposed another idea — using the property to house Syrian refugees.
“We treat our dogs better than we treat the Syrians right now,” Straub said. “If the government wanted to house Syrian refugees, I’d give them use of the building and let them put those people there.”
Thousands of Syrian refugees have been leaving their native country in search of asylum in Western Europe and the United States. A rally was held in Paterson, New Jersey earlier this year for the death of 3-year-old Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi, who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea.
Around 1,500 Syrian refugees who have been resettled in the U.S. so far out of an estimated 4 million who had fled the country in the past five years since the war started. One family found refuge in Jersey City after arriving to the United States in June.
Straub said his only request would be to be reimbursed for the cost of operating the building while refugees were staying there.
Revel closed in September of 2014, after operating for just over two years without ever turning a profit. Straub, a Florida developer, officially purchased the property in August for $82 million after a long negotiation battle.
He also plans to develop the former Bader Field airport site, which closed in 2006, and re-open part of it as an aviation facility.
Straub said the Revel building is likely to remain vacant for the foreseeable future while he hashes out a half-dozen lawsuits or regulator battles involving its utilities, taxes and former business tenants.
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