Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small said this week that tearing down the shuttered Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino would be one of the major targets for 2020 for him and his administration.
The new top official of the city delivered his unofficial State of the City speech during the Metropolitan Business and Citizens Association’s annual winter luncheon, held last Thursday at Caesars Atlantic City.
During one time, US President Donald Trump owned Trump Plaza. In September 2014 the property closed doors. Mr Trump had cut ties with Atlantic City by that point, and had abandoned his casino industry. He filed a lawsuit in October 2014 against then-owners of the property to have his name removed from the vacant building. His company ultimately maintained a small stake in the property in exchange for the use of his name, but one was extinguished afterwards.
New York billionaire businessman Carl Icahn currently owns Trump Plaza. For almost three years, the former hotel and casino complex was scheduled for demolition but the plan has since been postponed.
Mayor Small said this week that the goal of his administration is to “tear down Trump Plaza” and that the demolition of the vacant property being postponed for years would “not be accepted in any other city but Atlantic City.” The official went on to say that this was “an embarrassment, it’s blight on our skyline, and that’s the biggest eyesore in town.”
It was in the fall of 2017, when it first appeared that Trump Plaza would be razed on the Atlantic City Boardwalk to make room for new construction. The property was scheduled to implode in Spring 2018.
At the time, Mr. Icahn approached the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority with a request that an alternative investment tax from the Garden State be granted $5.6 million to partially cover demolition costs.
Tax proceeds are generally contributed to non-gaming expansion projects and state-wide improvements. At that time, money generated from the tax was directed at cash-strapped Atlantic City that had just endured the closure of five of its casinos over two and a half year period.
The New Jersey redevelopment agency eventually bowed to the businessman and gave an initial approval for the requested payment to be made.
As previously mentioned, Trump Plaza was ear-marked for demolition in the spring of 2018. The implosion was, however, postponed until that year’s fall because Atlantic City was entering its most tourism-heavy months. However, local news outlets reported back then that Mr. Icahn had yet to get the requisite permit to demolish the 39-story building. Since then it seems no permission has been issued.
The other properties that had previously been operating under the name Trump now operate under new brands and are being operated by new owners. The former Trump Marina now operates as Golden Nugget and is owned by Texas businessman Tilman Fertitta while the former Trump Taj Mahal has recently been renovated and renamed Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.