The former Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City will be imploded at 9 a.m. on Feb. 17.
The shuttered Boardwalk casino hotel once owned by former President Donald Trump was originally scheduled to be brought down on Jan. 29. However, demolition delays and a minor dispute with the building’s current owner pushed the date back.
“This has been a tedious process, working with all the professionals,” Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. said during a news conference Thursday morning from City Hall.
Will there be a safe implosion viewing area?
Leading up to the implosion date, several businesses on the Boardwalk will have to close for safety reasons, Fire Chief Scott Evans said.
“This implosion will affect the surrounding neighborhood,” Evans said, adding there will be specific areas that are exclusion zones, evacuation zones and areas where residents must stay indoors.
So while getting a front row seat may be difficult, there will be a public viewing area. Bader Field is located about two miles from the center of the AC Boardwalk.
More details, including the parking fee, are expected soon.
New online auction to benefit AC Boys & Girls Club
Thursday’s announcement came just days after a charity auction tied to the implosion was canceled at the behest of the property owner, billionaire Wall Street investor Carl Icahn. Proceeds from the auction were to go to the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City. The winner, or winners, would have pushed the button to start the implosion.
Instead, an auction for 10 front-row seats at One Atlantic Events inside the Playground Pier is now open. Winning bidders will not only get an indoor, unobstructed view of the implosion but also an overnight stay and dinner at either Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City or Ocean Casino Resort.
The Boys & Girls Club will still receive the auction proceeds.
Icahn agreed to contribute $175,000 to the non-profit, the amount of the highest bid before he nixed the plan.
Small, who wanted to raise $1 million for the youth club he once attended and worked at, thanked Icahn for the “generous donation.”
Background on Trump Plaza implosion
Trump Plaza opened in 1984 and closed in 2014. Icahn acquired the building in 2016 when he purchased the debt of the thrice-bankrupt Trump Entertainment Resorts.
Following a storm in the spring where pieces of the building’s facade flew off and crashed below on the streets and Boardwalk, the city declared the Plaza a safety hazard. The city later filed a complaint with the courts to force Icahn to either remediate or tear down the building.
However, the savvy investor’s team said the demolition process was already underway.
‘One shot’ to redevelop Trump Plaza lot after demo
The last Atlantic City casino to be imploded was the Sands in October 2007. And that one took place at night with fireworks, music, and a big crowd. The lot remains vacant today.
The mayor is hoping to avoid a similar fate once the Plaza is gone. Small said the city is already in discussions with Icahn about developing the prime real estate sitting at the base of the Atlantic City Expressway.
“This city only has one shot with this land,” he said. “It’s not often that center-city, waterfront space opens up in a city like this.”