ATLANTIC CITY — The old Trump Plaza Casino at the center of the Boardwalk will be imploded, officials said Thursday.
The casino hotel has been vacant since 2014, and the city has long sought its demolition, especially as pieces of its facade were falling to the ground and, more recently, onto the Boardwalk in high winds.
The property is owned by billionaire Carl Icahn, who submitted a plan calling for imploding the casino and its tower by June 2021 after the city went to court seeking an emergency order. The city wants the property down sooner, Mayor Marty Small Sr. said.
Small said the plans call for complete implosion of both towers, sparing only the parking lot and the separate Rainforest Cafe.
“The plans are for them to implode both towers, bringing the building down,” Small said during a news conference outside the building. “The only thing we have to work on is the timeline.”
Small said the June 2021 date is unacceptable, as it’s during the city’s busy season. The city wants the implosion to take place by the end of 2020 or by February, in time for a full cleanup before next summer.
Trump Plaza, which then-casino mogul Donald Trump opened in 1984 to acclaim, was one of four casinos to close in 2014, when the city’s finances were themselves imploding. Two casinos have reopened, Hard Rock Atlantic City in the old Trump Taj Mahal, and Ocean Casino in the old Revel.
Trump had no stake in the property at the time of its closure.
All nine of Atlantic City’s casinos have been shut down since March 16 because of coronavirus restrictions, but there has been talk of a reopening by July Fourth.
Small said the city would work with Icahn or any future owner of the property on developing the land, which aligns with the end of the Atlantic City Expressway. He said the city would like to take over the management of the parking lots.
“If there’s an opportunity to get revenue, no matter how small, we’re going forward,” he said.
Small said initial estimates for the demolition, for which Icahn will pay, were around $14 million, but he expected the costs to be more than that for just the implosion. He said public financing, which Icahn had sought, “was not a part of the equation.”
Small said he was hopeful for what would replace the crumbling landmark. “It’s right off the expressway, oceanfront property, a massive amount of land, goes from the Boardwalk to Atlantic Avenue,” he said.