It took 1,900 pounds of explosives and less than five seconds on Feb. 17 to implode the 39-story main tower of the former Trump Plaza hotel and casino on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J.
The defunct casino, shuttered in 2014 and sold to investor Carl Icahn in 2016, was dropped to the ground by Phoenix, Md.-based contractor Controlled Demolition Inc. The main tower collapsed just after 9 a.m. without a hitch, CDI President Mark Loizeaux said.
Loizeaux, who was on the scene, said that post-blast inspections of adjacent improvements revealed “no damages or post blast changes to preblast conditions.” He added: “Vibration and noise levels recorded around the site were well within regulatory limits.”
CDI loaded the explosives in 2,300 locations on 14 floors of the structure and installed more than 700 delays using a non-electric initiation system to carefully control the fall of the structure, Loizeaux said.
The result was a “tidy 70-ft-tall pile of post implosion debris,” he said, which “to my knowledge is being recycled.”
Loizeaux did not disclose the cost of the demolition, which media had previously estimated at $14 million.
According to Loizeaux, one challenge was the lack of structural plans going into the project, “necessitating extensive structural investigation to determine existing conditions.” He said the discovery of unique load transfer systems that were hidden behind the building’s fit-out weren’t found until two months prior to the implosion date.
Other challenges included the tall and very slender configuration of the flat slab tower, as well as its robustly reinforced shear walls and concrete cores, Loizeaux said. He also noted that the beachfront location made the blast susceptible to high winds off the ocean.
“It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, but some revelations came late in the game, necessitating changes in CDI’s plan to meet our client’s needs,” he said.
Another concern was providing safety for the historic James Whelan Boardwalk Hall, to the west of the implosion site, and other above- or below-grade improvements.
City Mayor Marty Small said all post-implosion cleanups will be completed before Memorial Day and that he planned to meet with Icahn to discuss developing the 10-acre oceanfront property.
Trump properties in Atlantic City filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1991, including the Trump Taj Mahal and Trump Hotels. Casinos Resorts joined in 2004 and Trump Entertainment Resorts in 2009. Former President and developer Donald Trump cut ties with the resort in 2009, and his name was later removed. Icahn also bought the deed to the land under Trump Plaza.