Trump Plaza, the 39-story former casino that has been a landmark on the Atlantic City Boardwalk for more than 30 years, was imploded Feb. 17.
Trump Plaza, which was opened in 1984, closed after three decades of operation in 2014. Donald Trump owned the casino until 2009, when he relinquished it aside from a 10 percent fee for the use of his name on the property. In 2016, billionaire Carl Icahn bought the company out of bankruptcy court. In 2020, demolition work began on the casino, which had fallen into a state of disrepair in recent years.
The structure, brought down by approximately 3,000 sticks of dynamite, came down in less than 20 seconds.
“I got chills,” Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small said the morning of the blast, according to the Associated Press (AP). “This is a historic moment. It was exciting.”
Small estimated that the resulting rubble from the implosion stood roughly 8 stories, and that it would take until June to remove it. The AP reported that some of the rubble could be used to build an artificial fishing reef off of Atlantic City’s coast.
While the implosion demolished the majority of Trump Plaza, there are remaining structures that will be brought down mechanically.
In its heyday, the Trump Plaza was a destination for both tourists and celebrities as it served as host to a number of boxing title fights and other big events, recalls Bernie Dillon, who worked as the events manager for the casino from 1984 to 1991.
“The way we put Trump Plaza and the city of Atlantic City on the map for the whole world was really incredible,” Dillon said, according to the AP. “Everyone from Hulk Hogan to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, it was the whole gamut of personalities. One night before a [Mike] 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,” Dillon said. “It was a special time. I’m sorry to see it go.”
While Small had previously proposed a fundraiser for the Boys And Girls Club of Atlantic City, which would allow the highest bidder to “push the button” to implode the casino, Icahn rejected the idea on the grounds of safety and liability.
Controlled Demolition Inc. (CDI), Phoenix, Maryland, served as the implosion specialist on the job.
“The day went exactly as planned,” CDI President Mark Loizeaux said, according to Forbes. “We don’t blow structures up. We use a small quantity of explosives . . . and gravity has her way.”
Watch the video of the implosion, courtesy of CDI: