The city is taking bids on the right to blow up the former Trump Plaza casino for charity in early 2021, shortly after President Donald Trump is scheduled to leave the White House on January 20. The implosion had originally been set for January 29 but has been pushed back to an as-of-yet-undetermined date, likely in February.
The event is being marketed as an unusual way for the winning bidder to relieve frustration about the past four years of the Trump presidency, the pandemic, the loss of jobs in Atlantic City, the lack of respect for Brutalism, whatever might be on their mind.
The winner doesn’t have to pay for the dynamite or place the explosives around the property—just push a button and watch the fireworks.
“You have a chance to be part of this city’s colorful history, as it says farewell to Trump Plaza,” writes Bodnar Auction Sales of Atlantic City, the auctioneer, on its website. “Bidding is now open to be the one to press the button to start the implosion.”
Proceeds from the auction will go to The Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City.
Designed by Martin Stern Jr., the vacant casino at 2500 Boardwalk operated from May of 1984 until September of 2014. The property included a hotel with 904 rooms, more than 90,000 square feet of gaming space, and two restaurants. The building is currently in a state of disrepair, with chunks of the facade falling off and making the nearby boardwalk area unsafe.
The Trump Organization and a subsidiary, Trump Entertainment Resorts, once had three casinos in New Jersey but severed most ties more than a decade ago. Since 2016, the waterfront Trump Casino property has been owned by billionaire Carl Icahn, who has agreed to clear the land to make way for new development.
City officials have been pushing Icahn to clear the site, citing safety concerns. Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small says he hopes the auction raises more than $1 million.
“Some of Atlantic City’s iconic moments happened there, but on his way out, Donald Trump openly mocked Atlantic City, saying he made a lot of money and then got out,” Small told NBC Philadelphia. “I wanted to use the demolition of this place to raise money for charity.”
The last Atlantic City casino implosion was in 2007 when the former Sands casino was blown up.
According to Bodnar’s website, online bidding has already drawn 17 offers. The current bid is at $172,500, and live bidding will begin on January 19.
One benefit of this event, the auctioneer notes, is that the winning bidder doesn’t have to come to Atlantic City to claim the prize. Because the button can be pushed remotely, the company notes, it’s “an experience that can be done anywhere in the world.”