Goodbye Trump Plaza? Atlantic City Seeks Court Order For Demolition

Written By Bill Gelman on March 12, 2020

It is no secret that Trump Plaza needs to be demolished.

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. is now getting the courts involved. During Thursday’s news conference at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, city officials made their stance crystal clear.

The Press of Atlantic City reported that based on concerns for public safety, city officials said they will seek a court order to have the former hotel and casino immediately demolished.

Trump Plaza is ‘biggest eyesore in town’

The announcement does not come as a surprise; Small has been very vocal about his plans.

The building is owned by billionaire hedge fund manager Carl Icahn.

And Small continues to make his message crystal clear:

“Today, we are saying to Carl Icahn that we want this building torn down,” the mayor said. “We want the world to know that we mean business.”

It seems Icahn Enterprises has similar plans in mind, and the company even issued a response to the Small’s comments.

An Associated Press article used the words “owner agrees” in the headline. Hunter Gary, president of real estate for Icahn Enterprises, issued  a prepared statement:

“We are puzzled by the city’s action. In fact, we already decided to demolish the building, and have commenced the process, including finalizing contracts.

“If the mayor had simply called us instead of holding a press conference, we could have updated him as well.”

A timeline of Trump Plaza’s downfall

It may have something to do with the fact that  Trump Plaza closed Sept. 16, 2014.

And what has happened in the six years since? Little to nothing.

The building previously owned by President Donald Trump enjoyed a 30-year run, opening its doors on May 15, 1984.

Sure there were some good times, but it was one of four Atlantic City casinos to close in 2014. Two of them have since reopened.

Multiple bankruptcies and the expansion of gambling into key feeder markets like Philadelphia and Maryland contributed to its downfall.

Icahn had previously considered demolition with the idea of New Jersey paying for it.

In 2018, those plans to knock down Trump Plaza were put on hold.

And it’s hard to forget about the time former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held a campaign rally outside the site.

What the demolition of Trump Plaza means for Atlantic City

The big question of when this demolition will take place remains unanswered.

And now, more than ever, the timeline needs to be much sooner rather than later. Besides impacting AC’s resort-town image, the building is literally falling apart.

Atlantic City Fire Chief Scott Evans commented on the safety factor in the AP article:

“There are five big holes in this building,” said Evans. “We’re going to see more panels fall. This poses a threat to the surrounding area.”

Even with the future land usage undermined, eliminating the building opens the door for future development at Boardwalk Central.

The next phase could include a non-gaming hotel, entertainment and dining district, or a residential development.

But before any of this can happen, Trump Plaza must come crumbling down.

Stay tuned as to when.

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Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and now NJ sports betting and online gambling.

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