After many delays, there is a final date set for the implosion of Trump Plaza. The event, set to take place this week, has a significant meaning for the Atlantic City where the facility was a part of the landscape for decades.
The casino opened in May of 1984. Back then it was only the tenth casino in the city just seven years after gambling was legalized in 1977.
Back then, Donald Trump was only in the beginning of his career as a casino tycoon and Trump Plaza was his first attempt at the business.
During the pre-approval process in 1981, Trump told the Star-Ledger that his resort would determine the future of Atlantic City.
The property represented 39 story building with a 60,000-square-foot casino and more than 600 hotel rooms. In the 80s it was the largest gambling hall in the city.
Not everything went smoothly for the Trump Plaza in the beginning. It opened with malfunctioning slot machines and a faulty fire alarm caused two women to be injured. Things changed later when Trump started building his empire.
The peak came in 1996 when Trump’s casino empire generated as many as 6,100 jobs at the Plaza alone.Regarding the development, Trump said in 1998: “I made Atlantic City a really good place, and now it’s a place where people want to come and invest”.
Not everyone saw it that way though. Sen. Jim Whelan, who was the city’s major in the 1990s, said during Trump’s first presidential run: “The notion that he was somehow responsible for the success that Atlantic City had is not accurate. Nor is he responsible for the problems we now have.”
Plaza closed doors in 2014. Casino operations ended in September that year, more than 1,000 workers lost their jobs and the property became the fourth casino to shutter that year.
The building sat empty for years. It was completely vacated by 2016 when ownership passed from Trump Entertainment Resorts to Icahn Enterprises.
Plans for implosion began in 2017 when the hotel was emptied during an auction.
After years of uncertainties about Trump Plaza’s future, Mayor Marty Small made it a goal of his administration to tear down the Trump building, calling it an “embarrassment” for the Atlantic City.
Last summer, Small announced that Trump Plaza would be demolished by the end of 2021. After delays, this week will mark the end of an era for the Atlantic City.
It is still unclear what will happen to the site after the building is imploded and clean-up is done. Last year, Mayor Small shared his plans to establish a family fun entertainment facility, since the city is lacking just that.
Source: “Trump Plaza implosion marks the end of an Atlantic City empire” NJ, February 14, 2021