Trump Plaza implosion countdown begins, new auction on the table

Trump Plaza on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey

Everything is moving forward for Trump Plaza to finally be erased from the Atlantic City’s skyline. The casino has sat vacant for almost seven years and there’s virtually nothing that can prevent it from being imploded next month. The crumbling building is part of a larger legacy that is coming to an end and, even as D-day for the implosion approached, the property was not without controversy. An auction to award the rights to push the big red button to trigger the explosives was pulled at the last minute, but a new auction is now taking its place.

It might seem apropos to some that Wednesday, February 17 marks the day Trump Plaza turns into dust. That day also marks Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent that symbolizes the Christian belief that all humans came from dust. It also marks the end of former U.S. President Trump’s foray into the gambling business, which has effectively been dead for years. 

Atlantic City has tried for the past couple of years to have the casino razed, but found resistance from its current owner at almost every turn. Carl Icahn, the billionaire casino investor, purchased the property in 2016, but was never able to formulate a solvent plan to see the property come back to life. Icahn has been a strong supporter of Trump over the years, but will now say goodbye to the last bastion of the former president’s once-thriving empire. 

In preparation for the implosion, Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small created a campaign last month to benefit the city’s local Boys & Girls Club chapter. An auction would be held that would allow the highest bidder to trigger the explosion, but someone in Icahn’s group decided, just as the auction was coming to an end, that there were “safety concerns” that forced the event to be canceled. With it, the $175,000 highest bid that would have gone to the non-profit organization was lost. 

As had been suggested should happen, Icahn has reportedly agreed to donate the lost auction proceeds to the Boys & Girls Club as a gesture of goodwill. However, there is another auction that has been introduced by the same company chosen to run the previous one, Bodnar’s Auctions, and the proceeds will still go to the Boys & Girls Club, still reeling from a disappointing 2020 because of COVID-19. Bodnar’s is now holding an “Imploding Viewing Party” auction.

The auction has up for grabs two front-row seats to view the implosion. Bodnar’s explains of the campaign, “You will be a VIP guest of Atlantic City and get one of the best views of the Implosion at One Atlantic with an Implosion Party with the Mayor and other city officials. You will receive a one night stay for you and a guest at the Ocean Casino Resort right on the beach front, voted one of the best casinos, best rooms & best comps on the Boardwalk or at The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on the Boardwalk! You will also receive diner for 2 at one of their in-house famous restaurants!”

While perhaps not carrying the same symbolism as pushing the button that demolishes Trump Plaza, the auction is still an excellent opportunity to witness up close and personal a major change to Atlantic City. Bidding begins in just over 12 days, so would-be participants should start gathering their disposable funds now to get ready.