Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has filed plans to demolish a former Atlantic City casino built by Donald Trump before he was president, but Icahn and the city have not yet agreed on when the towers will come down.
Mayor Marty Small held a news conference Thursday to announce that Icahn’s company has filed demolition plans with the city that call for both towers of the casino to be imploded, a departure from initial discussions that would have razed only one.
But Icahn’s plans call for the structures to be demolished by June 2021, a timetable Small called “not acceptable.”
“My administration’s goal is to get it down by the end of this year, or by late February,” the mayor said.
Icahn and his representatives did not respond to messages seeking comment. In March, Icahn said through a spokesman that his company had already committed itself to tearing down the building and did not need to be prodded by the city, which took Icahn to court to force demolition.
In recent years, Icahn has requested the use of more than $5 million in redevelopment tax payments that Trump Plaza made while it was operating to help offset the cost of demolition.
“That is not part of the equation,” Small said.
The mayor commended Icahn for being willing to work with the city to bring down the former casino, which Trump opened in 1984 in a prime spot at the center of Atlantic City’s Boardwalk where the Atlantic City Expressway deposited cars entering the resort.
It closed in 2014, one of four Atlantic City casinos to shut down that year, followed by another former Trump casino, the Taj Mahal, in 2016. That property has since reopened as the Hard Rock casino.
But Trump Plaza has sat empty for six years, and has been deteriorating. Earlier this year, large pieces of the facade broke loose from one of the hotel towers and came crashing to the ground. In a recent storm, additional debris fell from the structure onto the Boardwalk.
“Vacant buildings are not good for a city, especially high rises,” said Fire Chief Scott Evans. “We’ve been responding to this building many times, mostly for debris falling from the building. Debris has fallen from the 34th floor. It’s nerve-wracking for us when we get high winds. I cringe.”
Trump cut most ties with Atlantic City in 2009 aside from a 10% fee for the use of his name on what were then three casinos in the city. That stake was extinguished when Icahn took ownership of the company out of bankruptcy court in February 2016.