The 39-story main tower of the former Trump Plaza hotel-casino on the Atlantic City, N.J., boardwalk, sold to investor Carl Icahn in 2016, will be imploded in February by a Philadelphia general contractor already dismantling the last major piece of what was President Donald Trump's sizable real estate holdings there.
The Trump Plaza hotel-casino, which housed 86,000 sq ft of gaming space and 906 hotel rooms, shut down in 2014 and no longer bears the family name.
Atlantic City Director of Licensing & Inspections Dale Finch, whose office oversees site permitting, says Trump Plaza "is by far the largest demolition project” done in the city.
Icahn will decide future site use, Finch says, adding that “everyone hopes it becomes developed quickly." Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small favors use of the 10-acre site to expand a nearby retail outlet complex.
Demolition Setup Underway
Contractor Haines & Kibblehouse, a construction and demolition unit of The H&K Group, declined to comment about work going on at the site or to provide details on the implosion, referring queries to the owner. The firm has not yet responded to ENR's query related to recent implosions it has done.
A query to the office of Carl Icahn also was not answered.
H&K project manager Michael Schwartz confirmed that the demolition is set for February but did not provide a more specific new date from what had been planned originally for Jan. 29. Finch said his department must inspect the implosion site before allowing it to proceed,
According to press reports, the demolition cost is estimated at $14 million.
City officials pressed for action last spring after panels fell from the structure, exacerbated by corrosion and wind and water damage, although an Icahn executive claimed at the time that a demolition plan was in progress.
Site work began in April after Finch said he approved a demolition certificate. Finch said the demolition certificate required approvals of nearby properties. Work to demolish the building interior and remove portions of the structure got underway in August.
There will still be months of cleanup work by the contractor after the implosion, Small says, estimating a debris pile of up to eight stories. One tower, which includes a Rainforest Café and a parking deck, will remain standing, he says.
Clean Site by Memorial Day
The mayor wants all post-implosion cleanup completed before Memorial Day.
Trump opened the former casino in 1984 at what was considered a prime location adjacent to the city convention center and near the Atlantic City Expressway exit. Billionaire Icahn took ownership in 2016 in a bankruptcy proceeding. He was unsuccessful in selling the property to Hard Rock International the following year, according to reports.
The implosion has gained attention nationwide, after Small created a fundraiser to raise $1 million from bidders vying to set off the implosion, earmarked for the Boys & Girls Club in Atlantic City. There have been more than a dozen bids submitted to blow up the structure, according to liveauctioneers.com, with the highest at $62,500 as of Dec. 28.
The auction continues until Jan. 19, the mayor says.
Trump properties in Atlantic City filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1991, including the Trump Taj Mahal; Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts joined in 2004 and Trump Entertainment Resorts in 2009. The President, then a real estate developer, cut ties with the resort in 2009, but his name temporarily remained on his casino properties. It was later removed.
Icahn also bought the deed to the land under Trump Plaza but terminated the complicated lease on the property in late 2018.