The former site of the Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City (pictured) has been listed for sale this week, nearly two and a half years after the iconic building’s controlled demolition.
The property, located at 2201 Boardwalk, spans approximately 9.46 acres and boasts nearly 1.2 million square feet of space. The Trump Plaza and Hotel was built by former President Donald Trump’s Trump Entertainment Resorts in 1985, in collaboration with Harrah’s. It operated until 2014.
The site currently hosts partial tenants, including the Rainforest Café and B&B Parking.
Now it is up for sale after being listed by local real estate agent Binswanger, presumably at the behest of current owner, billionaire Carl Icahn.
“Binswanger is pleased to offer this generational oceanfront redevelopment opportunity in Atlantic City,” the listing said.
“With numerous governmental incentives potentially available, significant development potential, and prime visibility off the AC Expressway at the city’s entrance, this site is a unique opportunity and the ideal location for redevelopment.”
Atlantic City’s nine casinos currently make around $220 million a month, although that revenue has been slightly falling year-on-year in 2023.
A Prime Real Estate Opportunity
The former Trump Plaza oceanfront property saw the casino demolished on February 17, 2021. It is now on the market without a specified sale price.
Both the tower and its adjoining lot are owned by IEP AC Plaza, LLC, an affiliate of Icahn Enterprises, the company established by Icahn.
The central city oceanfront lots are considered among Atlantic City’s most valuable real estate assets. However, as it stands, the land isn’t generating significant revenue for the city.
New Jersey state filings show just $125,000 in property taxes paid over 2022 on the prime real estate. That’s compared to the nearby (and also empty) former site of the Atlantic Club & Casino, whose owners paid over $250,000 in taxes in 2022.
Icahn’s History with Atlantic City
Icahn’s association with Atlantic City is not new. In 2008, he acquired a majority stake in Tropicana Entertainment, which was then grappling with bankruptcy. This stake encompassed the company’s assets across various states, including the Tropicana Atlantic City in New Jersey. By 2010, Tropicana had successfully emerged from bankruptcy protection.
Icahn’s involvement with Atlantic City deepened in 2016 when he took over Trump Entertainment Resorts, rescuing the casino operator from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
However, that same year, a prolonged and public dispute with Atlantic City’s largest casino workers’ union, Unite Here Local 54, led to a strike lasting more than 100 days. The conflict culminated in Icahn shutting down the Trump Taj Mahal Casino & Resort.
In 2017, Icahn sold the property to a group of local businessmen who collaborated with the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Hard Rock International. After extensive renovations costing more than $500 million, the property reopened as the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on June 27, 2018.
The following year, Icahn divested his interests in Tropicana Entertainment to a Reno-based casino company and a real estate investment trust. Consequently, Tropicana Atlantic City transitioned to an Eldorado Resorts (now known as Caesars Entertainment) operation, while the building itself came under the ownership of Gaming & Leisure Properties, Inc.
Casino or Something Else?
The decline in Atlantic City casino revenue, even as New Jersey online casinos go from strength to strength, has convinced some developers in the city to broaden their horizons and diversify into more family friendly entertainment options.
The former Showboat Casino & Hotel, closed by Caesars in 2014, reopened as a giant indoor arcade and hotel resort in 2012. This year it added a $100 million waterpark, with family friendly pools and late night party options.
Some operators have, however, doubled down on trying to revive Atlantic City’s casino fortunes. MGM Resorts International this year relaunched its Borgata Casino and Resort’s MGM Tower, with a complete $55 million remodel.
What any potential buyer might do with the 1.2 million-square-foot former Trump Plaza lot is anyone’s guess. Regardless of its future, some Atlantic City residents will no doubt be glad that the city’s final association with the controversial former President Donald Trump is one step closer to being finally over.