Trump Plaza and Hotel has sat vacant in Atlantic City since 2014 when a lack of interest forced it out of business. The property belongs to Icahn Enterprises, owned by billionaire Carl Icahn, and was to be demolished to make way for something more attractive. However, there has been little progress since then, and Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small went on the offensive to try to force the company to move quicker with its plans. It brought a lawsuit against the company on March 12 in order to seek court relief to have the building razed, and Icahn Enterprises is crying foul. It wants the suit to be thrown out, arguing that its demolition plans are in place, making the lawsuit irrelevant.
Small calls the building an “eyesore” and a public safety and health hazard. There have been videos posted on the Internet that show debris falling from the structure, but Icahn Enterprises doesn’t believe there’s cause for concern. It says the lawsuit’s call for an immediate demolition, as well as a “wrapping” of the building is an exaggeration.
Responding to the lawsuit, attorney Michael Sklar asserts, “Defendant is at a complete loss as to why the City is wasting the Court’s and parties’ time and effort on this matter. There is no imminent safety threat. [Icahn Enterprises] has taken, and continues to take, substantial measures to secure the Plaza Tower and to protect the public.”
Talk of demolishing the property has been around for two years. Most guys would welcome the opportunity to be able to blow something up, but Icahn doesn’t want to unless the city pays for half of the demolition. Given that the local government was dealing with a shrinking economy even before the coronavirus rolled in, financial priorities don’t put the Trump Plaza razing at the top of the list.
In spite of the fact that the city government isn’t interested in assisting with the costs, Icahn Enterprises is reportedly moving forward with its plans. First to go, according to the company, would be the actual hotel tower, with the parking lot and East Tower to come down at a later date. Icahn Enterprises asserts that it is currently seeking bids from demolition companies for the job, and that it has already hired a demolition expert to oversee the project. As a result, since progress is being made, the company feels that there’s no reason it should have to defend itself in court. It adds that the demolition will take from 12 to 15 months after the bidding and permitting window, which runs for nine-months, is complete.