After being declared a public safety hazard this past March, the quickly deteriorating Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino will be demolished as announced by Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small at a press conference late last week. Designed by Alan Lapidus, the oceanside hotel/casino opened in 1984 and, after decades of financial troubles, shuttered for good in September 2014.
As reported by NJ.com, it’s still unclear when exactly the demolition, which will include the implosion of both towers in lieu of just the original hotel tower as initially planned, will take place. Investor Carl Icahn, the blighted property’s current owner, is pushing for an implosion a year out from now although Small, who, along with other officials, has been vocal about razing the “biggest eyesore in town” since at least late 2017, wants it to happen as soon as possible.
“That’s smack dab in the middle of our season. My administration’s goal is to get it down,” Small said at the press conference, calling a June 2021 demolition “not acceptable.”
“By the end of the year, or late February, and time for cleanup for next summer season,” he added of the ideal timeline.
Still, getting Icahn Enterprises to commit to the building’s demolition is a major step in the right direction. As previously noted, a 2018 attempt to demolish the hotel-casino stalled after Icahn failed to receive state funding via the Reinvestment Development Authority that would have been used to cover the cost of the demolition. And so, demolition permit deadlines have come and gone. When the dangerous nature of the building, which is shedding chunks of concrete and debris, became apparent earlier this year, city officials filed an injunction with a New Jersey Superior Court in hopes that by officially declaring the structure an “imminent hazard” would hasten its demolition. The Superior Court judge gave Icahn Enterprises 45 days to produce plans to commence demolition, and those plans materialized last week.
“Vacant buildings are not good for a city, especially high rises,” Atlantic City fire chief Scott Evans told reporters in March. “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.”
Per NJ.com, Icahn Enterprises has been “extremely cooperative” in the process. A meeting will be held in the coming days as city officials figure out the best way to speed up the permitting process. A Rainforest Cafe outpost that’s part of the property but separate from the main casino and hotel towers will not be razed.