Atlantic City Prepares to Dynamite the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino


Trump Plaza Atlantic City DemolitionSoon to be imploded, Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City has been closed since 2014 and is a constant reminder of the hard times that hit America’s Playground. Once the site of a Japanese high roller’s $10 million loss that inspired Scorsese’s film Casino, the Plaza’s contents are being liquidated. No date has been set yet, but once an asbestos remediation is completed, the demolition will be scheduled.

Opened in 1984 on prime oceanfront property, tearing down Trump Plaza should generate a great deal of interest in investment. “The first thing you need to recognize is the Plaza has one of the best locations in the city,” said Ken Calemmo, Co-chair of the Economic Development Committee of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber. “It sits at the base of the expressway and in the center of the Boardwalk. You are guaranteed 29 million plus visitors passing by every year.”

Carl Icahn owns the property now after buying President Donald J. Trump’s Trump Entertainment Resorts out of its fifth bankruptcy. Although no demolition permit has been filed yet, “They are in the process of putting it together,” said Dale Finch, Director of Licensing and Inspection for the city. “It’s going to come down over the next four months.” And Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian confirms.

The former Holiday Inn tower and the parking garage will remain, but this will be the second casino demolished in Atlantic City, after the Sands in 2007. Atlantic City, however, is in the midst of a redevelopment boom with a deliberate focus on a more sustainable future beyond gambling and seasonal attractions.

“I was involved in a feasibility study on the property a few years ago,” said Robert Ambrose, a gaming consultant. “It is on prime real estate with a great deal of possibilities.” One suggestion for the Trump Plaza’s oceanfront property was to transform the site into natural areas of easier access to the Boardwalk and the Atlantic Ocean for tourists less interested in gambling, signaling an identity for AC beyond the blackjack tables.


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  1. If you ever wanted to know how Trump totally screwed up Trump Plaza, au former G.M. wrote a book about 20 years ago detailing all the mistakes Trump made such as stealing the Plaza’s best gamblers and sending them to the new Taj Mahal. Trump then did not give this G.M. a bonus as he did not meet goals. Hard to do when you take the best gamblers away.

  2. These big empty shells provide a possible asset for Atlantic City – cheap housing for service workers. Atlantic City needs to find another industry in addition to tourism, since there are a lot of other places that people would rather take their vacation. The best is to use these former casinos as housing for service industry workers, and the floors of the former casinos as office space – which means that cheap housing costs means lower worker costs. Of course, that would depend if such a model is profitable. But with such buildings worth much less than construction costs, that might be an option that some service businesses might want to explore, to see if it is feasible to open up a location here. Any revival of Atlantic City is going to require economic diversification, using old tourist infrastructure. Otherwise, it is going to face continued decline. I am not familiar with a former tourist destination developing new industries, but it’s worth a shot.


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