Even as demolition felled the former Trump Plaza, local and state officials were keeping a keen eye on the potential of redeveloping the site of the former Atlantic City casino.
The state-run Casino Reinvestment Development Authority in conjunction with the City of Atlantic City wanted to create a development corridor connecting the Atlantic City Convention Center and a new retail space to the city’s boardwalk and beaches.
Now, however, the idea of development will have to be put on hold, as a public information officer noted that “there is no redevelopment plan at this time.”
Implosion of Trump Plaza supposed to clear way for ‘new industry’
In 2021, just months after the former casino was imploded, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) awarded Atlantic City a $50,000 planning grant to repurpose the property where the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino once stood.
The funding was provided in September 2021 through the NJEDA’s 21st Century Redevelopment Program, which provides grants to aid in the redevelopment of empty or underused spaces that can have a significant impact on local economies.
Immediately after the Trump Plaza implosion in February 2021, Mayor Marty Small excitedly told reporters: “We can’t depend on casino gaming anymore. We need to bring new industry here.”
The idea was to work together with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) and plan a retail development – something that would be attractive to locals as well as visitors.
Money for redevelopment never used
But the money was never used.
The property, now vacant land for nearly two years, is up for sale.
And, just like that, the idea of a development corridor is an Atlantic City project that will have to wait for another day.
“As you may have seen, the Trump Plaza site is up for sale, although there is no redevelopment plan at this time,” Andrew Kramer, public information officer for Mayor Small, said in an email.
The EDA money had been “intended to conduct a study to identify the necessary criteria to allow a stalled project such as development on this site to move forward,” Kramer said.
And while it seemed like Atlantic City was doing some soul-searching in the middle of the pandemic, which forced its nine casinos to close their doors or limit their hours, the Trump Plaza site wasn’t in mind.
Kramer confirmed the money “was never utilized.” And, Kramer said, “The city is not planning to buy the land.”
Officials wanted to turn land of Atlantic City casino into family attraction
The grant was supposed to give Atlantic City a chance to evaluate strategic uses for the land and create an overall redevelopment plan, city officials said when the grant was announced.
“We look forward to working with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority on plans for the undeveloped property on Mississippi Avenue that was once the site of the Trump Plaza Hotel,” Mayor Small said in 2021.
Atlantic City officials previously said that they would like to turn the lot into a family attraction along the boardwalk.
“The 21st Century Redevelopment Program will allow the city of Atlantic City to continue the movement to diversify the local economy,” Barbara Woolley-Dillon, director of Atlantic City’s Department of Planning and Development, said in September 2021.
“This grant will help us create a comprehensive redevelopment plan to better position the city as a year-round destination for residents and visitors.”
Recapping the history of Trump Plaza in Atlantic City
The building where the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino operated from 1984 to 2014 was demolished in February 2021. Immediately following the implosion, Small said he had a meeting with billionaire Carl Ichan, the landowner, to discuss a passive park at the site.
The need for demolition was expedited in 2021 after the city declared the tower a public health hazard because debris flew off during heavy winds. The building had been empty for the last seven years as it continued to deteriorate.
The former hotel and casino was one of several properties that former President Donald Trump owned at the popular Jersey Shore destination.
The Trump Marina, which closed in 2011, has since become the Golden Nugget. The Trump Taj Mahal, closed in 2016, reopened as the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.