A year after Atlantic City, New Jersey, officials declared the crumbling Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino a public safety hazard, both towers of the building, which opened in 1984 but has sat vacant since September 2014, has finally come down. This morning, the Alan Lapidus-designed complex was razed, though the auction to hit the trigger was canceled by the building’s billionaire owner, Carl Icahn.
Last year, pieces of the 39-story tower’s concrete and stucco facade rained down on the Atlantic City sidewalk, leading city officials to cordon off the area around the crumbling building and install security guards to direct foot traffic. Months later in June, Mayor Marty Small declared that the entire plaza complex would be taken down, though the city was still in negotiation with Icahn, an “activist” investor and personal associate of Donald Trump, on the exact timeline. After negotiating a demolition deadline of February, Atlantic City then began auctioning off the chance to hit the trigger on the 3,000 sticks of dynamite that would bring the buildings down, but Icahn stepped in to quash the promotion, claiming it was a “health and safety” issue.
Just now: Former President Trump’s Atlantic City hotel is demolished.
Once a Boardwalk staple, Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino has been closed since 2014. pic.twitter.com/DM7eBB3gEY
— The Recount (@therecount) February 17, 2021
Icahn instead donated $175,000 to the Atlantic City Boys and Girls Club in lieu of the money that would have been raised.
According to the New York Times, Trump Plaza was the first of three casinos the former president attempted to launch in Atlantic City (followed by the Trump Marina Hotel Casino, which opened in 1985 but which closed and was renamed the Golden Nugget in 2011, and the Trump Taj Mahal, which closed in 2016), but was plagued by financial issues its entire life. The casino ultimately broke with Trump himself in 2009, it closed in 2014, and Icahn acquired the complex in 2016.
While the auction to implode the building ultimately didn’t go ahead, Atlantic City is known for its gambling and oceanside hotels, and the businesses still open (the city’s nine casinos are currently capped at 35 percent capacity due to COVID) took advantage of the opportunity. Ten $6,000 “VIP view” packages were up for sale at local hotels, all of which sold out, and other rooms were stocked with champagne viewing deals to entice Trump-hating tourists (and residents) to watch the towers come down.
The Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino came down at 9:08 A.M. Eastern time this morning, and the next task is cleaning up the mountain of rubble left behind (some call that a pretty apt metaphor).