Carl Icahn to Demolish Both Trump Plaza Towers, But Razing Could Be a Year Out

Posted on: June 12, 2020, 12:03h. 

Last updated on: June 11, 2020, 02:04h.

Billionaire Carl Icahn’s publicly traded company, Icahn Enterprises, has filed plans with the Atlantic City government to completely raze the shuttered Trump Plaza casino resort. But it could be another year until the Boardwalk high-rises come down.

Carl Icahn Trump Plaza Atlantic City
Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. is calling on Carl Icahn to bring down Trump Plaza as soon as possible. (Image: Vincent Jackson/Press of Atlantic City)

A New Jersey Superior Court judge recently ordered Icahn Enterprises to present the city with a demolition plan for the property, which has sat vacant since it was closed in September of 2014.

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. (D) held a news conference outside the building yesterday to reveal that Icahn is planning to fully demolish the casino property. Previous plans suggested only imploding the original hotel tower. Now, Icahn says the east tower will also fall.

But when? Icahn Enterprises tells Atlantic City that the project will be completed by June of 2021.

Not acceptable,” said Smart on Thursday. “My administration’s goal is to get it down by the end of this year, or by late February.”

Partnered with Harrah’s, then a subsidiary of Holiday Inn, President Donald Trump built and opened Trump Plaza in 1984. Trump bought out Harrah’s stake after disagreements between the two and the resort’s early poor financial performance.

Public Safety Hazard

In early 2016, Carl Icahn acquired Trump Entertainment Resorts in bankruptcy. Donald Trump had nothing to do with the casino company since 2009, other than as an ongoing revenue kickback for the use of his name.

At the time of the 2016 acquisition, Trump Entertainment had only one casino in operation: Atlantic City’s Trump Taj Mahal.

“The Taj is one of Atlantic City’s signature properties,” Icahn said in 2016. “Although both Atlantic City and the Taj have had a few tough years, today marks the beginning of the turnaround.”

The turnaround never came. Instead, Icahn closed the Taj and later sold the property to Hard Rock International, which reopened the Boardwalk resort in June of 2018.

As for Trump Plaza, Icahn has shown no interest in repairing the deteriorating complex. Pieces of the building’s exterior have fallen on the Boardwalk and streets below, expediting calls for its demolition.

“Vacant buildings are not good for a city, especially high-rises,” Atlantic City Fire Chief Scott Evans told the Associated Press this week. “We’ve been responding to this building many times, mostly for debris falling from the building. Debris has fallen from the 34th floor. It’s nerve-wracking for us when we get high winds. I cringe.”

Valuable Land

Icahn believes the Trump Plaza is more valuable with the buildings torn down. The property is located at the end of Missouri Avenue, which extends to the Atlantic City Expressway – the main artery in and out of the casino town.

Trump Plaza sits on approximately 10.5 acres of prime real estate. Its immediate neighbor to the south is Boardwalk Hall, and to the north, Caesars.

Icahn has sought to receive some $5 million in funds from the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) to raze Trump Plaza, something Small says is “not part of the equation.”

Previous estimates to demolish only the original Trump Plaza hotel tower were in the ballpark of $14 million.