WATCH: Atlantic City’s Trump Plaza Comes Down

Written By David Danzis on February 17, 2021 - Last Updated on November 15, 2021
Trump Plaza implosion event

It took years to accomplish, but in the blink of an eye, the former Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino came crashing down Wednesday morning.
Shortly after 9 a.m. the 39-story tower was imploded.
From the first “BOOM” to the massive dust and debris cloud that drifted out to sea, the entire event lasted less than 20 seconds.


Trump Plaza is no more

It was exactly 13 months and one day from when Mayor Marty Small Sr. said eliminating the vacant eyesore from the city skyline was a priority.

The mayor was among dozens of people lining an observation deck at One Atlantic Events on the Playground Pier when the building fell.

Small raised his hands up and cheered.

“I still (have) chills,” Small said during a post-implosion press conference. “This is a historic moment.”

What’s next for the former Trump Plaza site?

Looking ahead, the mayor said city officials will work with the property owner, billionaire Wall Street tycoon Carl Icahn, to replace the Trump Plaza

“Now that this day is over, the focus shifts to having meetings with Carl Icahn’s group to see how we can work together,” he said. “With the same energy, effort and passion that we had to get this building down, we will have the same energy, effort and passion to work with them, stand shoulder to shoulder with them, to build something that we can all be proud of.”

A mixed-use development that includes retail and entertainment is the mayor’s preference.

The last Atlantic City casino to be imploded was the Sands in 2007. That site remains vacant.

“You don’t get this opportunity often,” Small said. The center city, oceanfront lot is, arguably, the most valuable piece of real estate in the city. “We get one chance to get this right.

Gone by summer

The rubble pile is several stories high and will take months to clean up. Additionally, two structures that were part of the Plaza complex still need to be demolished.

City officials are optimistic that the site will be cleared out by summer.

The real winner: AC Boys and Girls Club

Besides ridding the city of a deteriorating, and potentially dangerous, property, the implosion event helped raise money for a local non-profit. The Boys and Girls Club of Atlantic City received over $200,000 as a result of donations and a charity auction for VIP viewing at One Atlantic.

Stephanie Koch, the club’s executive director, said the funds are especially important now. Because of the hardships placed on Atlantic City youth as a result of COVID-19, the club is taking on additional responsibilities, including meals, transportation and educational programs.

“This support is helping us to not only expand and extend those services but sustain them over time,” Koch said.

Photo by AP/Seth Wenig
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David Danzis

David Danzis is the lead writer for PlayNJ. He is a New Jersey native and honors graduate of Rutgers University. As a newspaper reporter for the New Jersey Herald and Press of Atlantic City, David earned statewide awards for his coverage of politics, government, education, sports, and business. Today, he is PlayNJ’s Atlantic City “insider” and gaming industry expert on casinos, sports betting, and online gambling. David lives in Atlantic County, NJ with his wife and two children.

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