Trump Plaza Demolition on Hold Through Summer, Property’s Future Critical to Atlantic City Comeback

Posted on: May 30, 2018, 03:00h. 

Last updated on: July 30, 2018, 03:11h.

The shuttered Trump Plaza on Atlantic City’s Boardwalk will remain standing vacant through the summer.

Trump Plaza demolition Atlantic City
2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton used the closed Trump Plaza as a backdrop for a campaign speech to highlight her opponent’s business tenure in Atlantic City. (Image: Mel Evans/Associated Press)

Speaking with the Press of Atlantic City, local officials say a demolition permit has not been filed by Trump Entertainment Resorts, the last remaining casino controlled by the company President Donald Trump founded that is now owned by billionaire Carl Icahn.

Atlantic City Licensing and Inspections Director Dale Finch says with the summer months imminent, an application to tear down a resort located on the Boardwalk would not be approved until after the peak season.

“It’s not going to be done during the summertime since portions of the Boardwalk would have to be closed,” Finch explained. “Maybe it will happen in late fall.”

Opened in 1984, the casino resort has sat vacant since it closed in September 2014. Icahn acquired the property when he purchased Trump Entertainment Resorts in bankruptcy in early 2016.

Paying for Demolition

According to Forbes, Icahn is worth more than $18 billion. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t looking for a little help in tearing down Trump Plaza.

Last fall, Icahn petitioned New Jersey’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) to allocate money to cover the cost of demolishing the casino and 39-story hotel tower that has over 600 rooms.

Icahn believes money Trump Plaza paid into the CRDA’s Investment Alternative Tax, a 1.25 percent tariff all Atlantic City casinos pay on their gross gaming revenues, should be earmarked to help bring the resort down.

The Investment Alternative Tax (IAT) is typically used for non-gaming expansions and/or improvement projects. Under the city’s bankruptcy, however, the money has been used to pay down debt as well.

During Trump Plaza’s last full year in operation (2013), the casino made about $924,000 in IAT payments. Icahn Enterprises has estimated that the demolition will cost around $13 million.

Property Future

Trump Plaza is thought to be worth more without most of the building standing.

Icahn wants to demolish the casino and main hotel tower, but plans to leave the former Holiday Inn tower and rear parking garage. The demolition would make clear roughly three acres of prime Boardwalk real estate centrally located between Boardwalk Hall and Caesars.

Giving new life to where Trump Plaza stands is thought to be critical in Atlantic City’s rebirth. The property is the first casino incoming travelers see upon arriving via the Atlantic City Expressway.

Icahn recently cashed in his chips on Tropicana Entertainment by selling six properties to Gaming and Leisure Properties and Eldorado Resorts for $1.85 billion. That followed Icahn unloading the unfinished Fontainebleau Las Vegas for $600 million last August.

Atlantic City is entering a crucial period where the town will welcome two new casinos. Hard Rock, the former Trump Taj Mahal, and Ocean Resort Casino, the former Revel, are scheduled to open June 28.