Landmark Trump casino demolished in Atlantic City controlled explosion

Gino Spocchia
·3 min read

The former Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City was finally demolished on Wednesday morning, after the complex fell into years of disrepair.

A new development will replace the 32-story building, which formerly housed the Trump Plaza hotel and casino on Atlantic City’s famous boardwalk, and once hosted many famous faces.

The structure was loaded with explosives at strategic points along the building’s support structures to ensure the building collapsed on-itself, with debris falling north easterly.

Officials screened the implosion of the former president’s casino live online, with thousands tuning-in to watch the demise of Donald Trump’s once dominant casino empire in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Although the casino market was saturated in the northeast, and in New Jersey in particular, the Trump Plaza was the first of three entertainment complexes owned and operated by the former president, after opening in 1984.

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It closed to the public in 2014, and was among the last casinos to shut down on Atlantic City’s boardwalk, which suffered from an economic downturn during the 2000s.

The Trump Plaza was the poorest-performing casino in Atlantic City by the time it closed, taking in as much money from gamblers in 8 1/2 months as the market-leading Borgata hotel and casino did every two weeks.

Mr Trump dropped the casino after declaring bankruptcy — although his name still adorned the building until its closure — when it was bought by the billionaire investor Carl C. Icahn in 2016.

Atlantic City’s mayor, Marty Small Snr, had sought to auction off the right to push the demolition button to raise money for charity, but was stopped by Mr Icahn, who cited security concerns, and supported Mr Trump as president, according to the New York Times.

An alternative auction was held for VIP viewing packages of the demolition of the Trump Plaza from other nearby hotels, to raise funds for the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City, a children’s charity.

Those hotels included the Hard Rock Hotel, formerly the Trump Taj Mahal casino. Another former Trump casino, the Trump Marina Hotel Casino, now operates as the Golden Nugget.

In its heyday, the Trump Plaza was a bustling 32 story casino and only the tenth of its kind built in Atlantic City, costing an estimated $210 million in 1984.

But over time, the Plaza became the lowest performing casino in the city and was over $500 million in debt by the early 1990s, when it entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Mr Trump shifted ownership of the Plaza casino and was no longer owner of the building ahead of its scheduled implosion.

Speaking at a press briefing earlier this month on the demolition, Atlantic City Council President George Tibbit said the implosion of the Trump Plaza marked the “end of an era.”

Atlantic City has demolished other venues in major viewing spectacles, including the 2007 implosion of the Sands casino, which was reportedly watched by an estimated 100,000 viewers.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

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