The crumbling Trump Plaza Casino along the oceanfront in Atlantic City, New Jersey, once a key real estate asset of former U.S. President Donald Trump before his White House tenure, was demolished Wednesday.
As onlookers cheered, the 39-story hotel with 906 rooms and 8,000 square meters of gambling space for an array of casino games, disappeared in seconds in a controlled implosion.
It was left in rubble, with a cloud of billowing dust drifting from the site on a sunny morning.
Trump, a flamboyant real estate developer before winning the presidency in 2016, opened the casino in 1984. It was the site of numerous high-profile boxing matches that he attended.
Bernie Dillon, the events manager at the casino from 1984 to 1991, recalled the glory days of the casino’s past.
“The way we put Trump Plaza and the city of Atlantic City on the map for the whole world was really incredible,” Dillon told the Associated Press. “Everyone from Hulk Hogan to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, it was the whole gamut of personalities. One night before a Tyson fight, I stopped dead in my tracks and looked about four rows in as the place was filling up, and there were two guys leaning in close and having a private conversation: Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty.”
“It was like that a lot: You had Madonna and Sean Penn walking in, Barbra Streisand and Don Johnson, Muhammad Ali would be there, Oprah sitting with Donald ringside,” he recalled. “It was a special time. I’m sorry to see it go.”
But the facility subsequently fell into disrepair, as had several other casinos in Atlantic City, and it was closed in 2014.
At the end, the building was just a shell of exposed concrete and plumbing.
The building’s current owner, billionaire investor Carl Icahn, has not announced his plans for the prime real estate.
Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small said the demise of the casino “is not about Donald Trump. This is not about politics."
"Immediately after the implosion, that's where the conversation shifts," Small said.