Trump Plaza Implosion: Atlantic City Lays Out Details

Posted By David Danzis on February 11, 2021 - Last Updated on February 16, 2021

Atlantic City rolled out its game plan for the Feb. 17 implosion of the former Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino.

During a Wednesday morning press conference from City Hall, officials stressed public safety and announced an exclusion zone around the area.

No vehicle or pedestrian traffic will be allowed between Georgia and Arkansas avenues, and from the Boardwalk up to Atlantic Avenue.

Caesars Atlantic City will be locked down in the morning as well. No one will be allowed to enter or leave the casino from the Boardwalk.

The entire exclusion area will be closed down from about 6 a.m. until noon, officials said.

The implosion is scheduled for 9 a.m.

“Public health and safety is paramount,” Mayor Marty Small Sr. said. “We don’t want anyone near the downtown area.”

Where to watch the Trump Plaza implosion

Public viewing will be available at Bader Field for a fee of $10 per car. Although the field can hold roughly 4,500 vehicles, officials are urging spectators to arrive early. Gates open at 7 a.m.

“Get a good seat and watch it. In the blink of an eye, it will be down. So don’t be late … Don’t wait to the last minute,” said Atlantic City Council President George Tibbitt.

Small said the city is “expecting a big crowd,” at Bader Field. Spectators will be allowed to exit their vehicles to take pictures or video. But social distancing and masks will be strictly enforced, officials said.

The Boardwalk does not have many good sightlines of the tower. The beach will be blocked off in front of Trump Plaza. That is why officials opened up Bader Field for public viewing.

A city ordinance requires a minimum parking fee of $10 for all special events.

“The view (from Bader Field) is going to be spectacular,” said Atlantic City Police Capt. Rudy Lushina. “You’ll see most of the building from that location.”

A livestream of the Trump Plaza implosion will be available here.

(Almost) nothing will stop Trump Plaza coming down

Weather is the only variable that could delay the implosion at this point, according to AC officials. Fog or whiteout conditions from snow would force a delay. Rain or light snow will not, Fire Chief Scott Evans said.

The 39-story main casino hotel tower will be imploded. Two smaller sections of the building have already been disconnected from the tower and will be demolished separately. The parking garage and North tower will remain.

The site is expected to be cleared by the spring, with May being a suggested target.

Trump Plaza refresher on how we got here

Trump Plaza has been closed since 2014. Last year, the city declared the deteriorating building a safety hazard and went to court to have it torn down.

The building’s current owner, billionaire Wall Street investor Carl Icahn, acquired it when he assumed control of the thrice-bankrupt Trump Entertainment Resorts in 2016. Icahn attempted to have the building demolished the following year using casino investment alternative taxes, but political leaders pushed back against the plan.

“It’s the end of an era and beginning of something new that will hopefully go up there soon to make us proud,” Tibbitt said.

The implosion event has helped raise nearly $200,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City. Icahn donated $175,000, and a subsequent viewing auction raised another $16,375

Icahn has not publicly stated what his plans are for the soon-to-be-vacant beachfront land.

The last casino hotel to be imploded was the Sands more than a decade ago, and that lot is still vacant. City officials are eager to avoid a similar fate with Trump Plaza.

 

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David Danzis

David Danzis is an award-winning journalist who has covered business, politics, government, education, and sports in New Jersey. Most recently, he wrote about Atlantic City casinos, online gaming, and sports betting for The Press of Atlantic City. David is a graduate of Rutgers University.

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