The former Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino will be wiped off the Atlantic City skyline on February 17 at 9 a.m., the city’s mayor announced on Thursday.
“It’s a great day here in Atlantic City,” Mayor Marty Small said during a press conference. “It was a long process.”
The End of the Trump Era: The Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, once one of the city’s top destinations, will suffer a controlled implosion in February.
The former Trump Plaza, which has been closed since 2014 and owned by billionaire Carl Icahn, has been in disrepair for years as chunks of concrete fall on the street.
Mayor Small also announced that there will be an auction selling 10 seats for an implosion-watching party in a nearby function room with unobstructed views of the former president’s former casino. (The venue has 22-foot-thick glass windows and sits next to Trump Plaza.) Bodnar’s Auction, one of New Jersey’s largest auction houses, is hosting the bidding process.
“The implosion symbolizes the beginning of a fresh start for the future of Atlantic City. This will be part of history and we are proud to be part of it,” said Joe Bodnar, owner of the company.
Hard Rock and Ocean casinos are each donating five rooms and a dinner for two to the auction winners. The proceeds will go to the Atlantic City Boys and Girls Club.
The former Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, which Icahn bought out of bankruptcy in 2016, was slated to fall in late January, but the project was affected by delays in demolition.
Politicians may also get in the way.
The implosion of President Trump’s former casino has caught the attention of people around the world and has become a symbol of the chaotic final weeks of his presidency, marked by the lies of a stolen election, a second impeachment, and a riot in the Capitol are.
In December, Bodnar’s auction had already placed bids for the right to press the detonator button to blow up the closed casino. On Monday, the company canceled the auction after receiving a cease and desist letter from an Icahn company. Bodnar’s had requested a maximum bid of $ 175,000.
“We focus 100% on safety and made it clear from the start that we don’t want any distractions,” said a spokesman for Icahn Enterprises told Forbes. “From the beginning we thought that the auction and any other related spectacle was a security risk, and we were always clear that we would not participate in any way.”
Mayor Small stressed several times during his press conference that Icahn and his company have nothing to do with the new auction of spectator parties, which will start taking bids on February 3rd. An organization affiliated with Icahn is set to donate US $ 175,000 to the boys and Girls Club.
Icahn, whose value Forbes estimates at $ 14.6 billion, previously supported President Trump. During the 2016 campaign, Carl and his wife gave Gail $ 250,000 to committees backing Trump. Gail donated a much smaller sum to the Trump campaign in the summer of 2020 for his re-election offer.
In the early days of Trump’s presidency, Icahn took on a role in his administration as a special economic advisor. However, Icahn left office within a year due to a conflict of interest.
As for the soon-to-be-vacant space on the Atlantic City boardwalk, Icahn for has not released any plans to replace the former Trump property.
Trump Plaza closed in 2014 after years of losses.
AFP via Getty Images
Small said the city hopes Icahn doesn’t build another casino. Concerned that the seaside resort town’s gambling market is overcrowded, he said he would rather see development that offers amenities that Atlantic City currently does not, like family entertainment or new industries.
“The city of Atlantic City has a shot with this country. The city center by the sea is not often available to you, ”said Small. “It’s his country, he can place whatever he wants there, but hopefully we’ll be part of the conversation.”
For people who can’t afford to bid on the party, Mayor Small said the city will open Bader Field, which spans 141 acres and has unobstructed views of Trump Plaza, to spectators. “You have to pay to park, but you can pull up,” said Small.
Trump opened Trump Plaza in 1984 and closed it in 2014. Trump Plaza was one of three Atlantic City casinos named Trump, including the Trump Taj Mahal, now the Hard Rock Cafe, and the Trump Marina, now the Golden Nugget .
In an interview with Forbes on Tuesday, Mayor Small said his office had received calls from all over the world. “It’s going to be a global event,” he said. “Everyone is fascinated.”
He denies that the city’s involvement in the event is neither a political act nor a rejection of Trump. “It has nothing to do with politics,” says Small. “The building was closed in 2014, Trump was not the president. Every year it got worse to the point where it could no longer be endured. ”
Legendary boxer Mike Tyson won many battles at the Trump Plaza Hotel. In 1987 Tyson defeated Jose Ribalta in a technical knock-out.
The ring magazine via Getty Images
All in all, Trump Plaza was Atlantic City’s entertainment hub during its heyday. “It was all Mike Tyson, WrestleMania IV and V. A lot of people will be emotional [when it comes down]”Small said.
As for Trump’s Atlantic City legacy?
“I think it’s burned out, much like what you saw in his presidency,” said Small. “He’s done some great things here, obviously the jobs, the development, but he stopped paying attention to the real estate and in the end it was a disaster, much like the night before Biden’s inauguration.”
What blasting Trump Plaza means to Atlantic City, Small says it’s a prayer for the future.
“Look, it symbolizes hope and opportunity,” says Small.