The process of eliminating the former Trump Plaza casino from the Atlantic City skyline will end with the loud “boom” of an implosion sometime in 2021. A demolition crew from Pennsylvania has begun the slow work of gutting the interior and taking down portions of the building in preparation for the implosion. The 10.5-acre property is owned by billionaire Carl Icahn. Equipment and large mounds of dirt were on the property. Demolition had begun at part of a lower level next to one of the towers.
Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino opened on May 14, 1984, with now-President Donald Trump posing for photos on a casino floor of purple carpets, red walls, and mirrored ceilings and chandeliers. It closed for good just a few months later, one of four casinos in Atlantic City to close that year. Its Trump logos were removed or painted over under pressure from the Trump Organization. Trump himself was no longer an owner at the time of its closure.
By its end, the casino sported stained carpet, squeaky revolving doors, and failing room service. Since closing, it has served as a backdrop for a political rally, a spot for historical tours of Atlantic City, and has become an ever-worsening eyesore as pieces of its white facade have come crashing to the ground.
Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr., who has long advocated for the building’s demolition, said that a final timeline was still being worked out. He wants the building gone by February 2021, while Icahn has submitted plans for a June 2021 timeline. Small said he believed a contractor was installing an elevator to facilitate gutting of the building’s interior.
A spokesman for Icahn, who had been trying to get public funds for the demolition, did not respond to a message, nor did a spokesman for the demolition company. Icahn assumed ownership of Trump’s former casino company from bankruptcy court in 2016.
The property, with a main tower and an east tower, is at the center of the Boardwalk, at the foot of the Atlantic City Expressway. The city hopes the property can be sold or leased and then developed, possibly as an extension of a nearby shopping area.
The resilient seaside resort, which never closed its beaches or Boardwalk during the coronavirus shutdown, has been packed with visitors despite having no available indoor dining.
The city has recently cracked down on unlicensed Airbnb’s, installed special pizza-carton trash bins to accommodate all the outdoor dining, and legalized open containers of alcohol on the Boardwalk, at Gardner’s Basin, and at several new restaurants and beer gardens.
Trump was cut out of any ownership stake in his Atlantic City properties in 2009, other than a 10% fee for the use of his name on what were at that time three Trump casinos in the city, including the Trump Marina and Trump Taj Mahal. That ended when Icahn took ownership of the company.
“The slow dismantling of the old Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City has begun”, Amy S. Rosenberg, inquirer.com, August 18, 2020.