A former casino that has been shuttered for over half a decade will soon undergo a Las Vegas-style implosion despite the future of the oceanside property remaining somewhat uncertain.
On February 17, the once-iconic Trump Plaza will no longer stand between Missouri and Mississippi avenues. The casino was opened along the Boardwalk in 1984 by former President Donald Trump and hosted a slew of high-profile boxing matches and events back in its heyday.
Issues at the casino mostly related to its debt forced the building to close in 2014 after Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for its fifth bankruptcy. The property has since been purchased by Carl Ichan and demolition of the building has been discussed since at least 2017.
The structure has deteriorated significantly since the lights went out; it was declared a “public safety hazard” in early 2020 when chunks of the building’s concrete and stucco façade started falling onto nearby streets. The 39-story tower has since had its windows, exterior, and other elements removed and a formal implosion schedule was set last summer.
The Trump Plaza implosion will see roadway and sidewalk closures within several blocks of the former hotel beginning at 6:00 a.m., which will include the Boardwalk and beach areas between Georgia and Arkansas avenues. The big boom will take place at 9 a.m. and a public viewing area for the implosion will be set up at Bader Field (parking is $10).
Atlantic City’s Facebook page will be streaming the event, which has helped generate some goodwill towards the community. Per the Press of Atlantic City, an auction held at the Playground Pier earlier this month that saw nearby hotels offer VIP packages netted more than $6,000 for the local Boys & Girls Club chapter. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City also donated $10,000 to the effort.
A plan to auction off the right to push the button commencing the Plaza’s implosion was scrapped earlier this year over safety concerns, but Carl Icahn agreed to donate $175,000 to the Boys & Girls Club to match the highest bid that was received for the honor.
Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small says that about eight stories worth of debris will need to be cleaned up following the implosion, work that is expected to run through at least May of this year. Trump Plaza’s smaller tower, which fronts the Atlantic Ocean and includes a Rainforest Café plus a parking deck, will remain standing under the plans.
The implosion marks the unofficial end of Trump’s presence in Atlantic City. His Taj Mahal casino was sold for pennies on the dollar in 2017 and later rebranded as the Hard Rock Casino, while the former Trump Marina now operates as the Golden Nugget.
Icahn has kept his plans for the property closely guarded thus far, but current zoning allows a plethora of uses that include casinos, residential high-rises, hotels, retail, theaters, restaurants, bars, parks, educational, institutional, or government. The ten acres of soon-to-be-vacant land front the Atlantic Ocean and the city’s four-mile Boardwalk, which is one of the longest in the world.