Atlantic City Mayor Wants Former Trump Casino Demolished: Says It’s An ‘Eyesore’

Trump Plaza Hotel and Signage, People Walking By HotelDuring a meeting of the Metropolitan Business & Citizens Association, held at Caesars Atlantic City on Jan. 15, Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small said in a speech that one of his biggest and most important goals for the 2020 year is demolishing the Plaza Hotel. This was a former Trump property.

“My administration’s goal is to tear Trump Plaza down,” Small said. “That’s not accepted in any other city but Atlantic City. It’s an embarrassment, it’s blight on our skyline, and that’s the biggest eyesore in town.”

Mayor Small’s comments came on the heels of Jim Allen’s, Hard Rock International’s CEO, expressed disappointment in the state of the city. Allen confidently asserted that the city is in its “worse shape” since purchasing the Hard Rock property there three years ago. He states the city hasn’t responded swiftly or appropriately enough to growing concerns of the city’s worsening condition, for example, broken streetlights that have remained out for months:

 “When you’re in a resort environment where safety and security is so important, if the city can’t get something fixed as simple as the street lighting, then maybe a change is needed,” Allen said.

Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino was forced to shut its doors in 2014, as the Garden State’s gambling epicenter was hit with an extended bout of weaker traffic. Smalls was tired of the building being seen as nothing more than illegally-discarded trash. Once again, he started asking for the property to be demolished.

He wants his back yard cleaned up and rid of the dead weight, and he wants it now.

Trump Cuts Ties With AC Over a Decade Ago

Trump actually cut most of his ties with Atlantic City in 2009. This was when he sued to have his name removed from the shuttered Plaza building in October 2014, a month after it closed. The last of Trump’s involvement in the city was a small stake in the company. It was in return for the use of his name, but it has since been removed.

There are two other casinos that Trump once owned. Today, they’re currently operating under new brands—the Golden Nugget and Hard Rock. The Golden Nugget used to be the Trump Marina, and the Hard Rock was the former Trump Taj Mahal.

Currently, the Plaza building is owned by billionaire Carl Icahn, who assumed ownership of Trump’s former casino company from bankruptcy in 2016.

Obtaining a Demolition Permit

While the major goal of his administration is to make the building go away is clear, Small didn’t exactly specify who would bear the expense.

Trump Plaza was considered for demolition two years ago, but Icahn has not obtained a demolition permit, as reported by The Press of Atlantic City. Mayor Small’s effort to obtain funding from a state agency toward the cost of demolition failed, but he is putting enforcement in place this time around in an effort to help see his demolition goal succeed in the new year.

Small explained that a new 90-day code enforcement review panel is going to be put in place starting this week, according to The Press Of Atlantic City. Also coming are a business advisory council and infrastructure committee that are designed to help identify opportunities in both of those potential growth areas.

Hard Rock International Could Soon Break Into Las Vegas

Hard Rock International is one of the biggest and most successful hotel-casino companies in the country. Interestingly, it hasn’t ever managed to run a major venue in Las Vegas. This week, the Chairman of Hard Rock International told the media he’s interested in purchasing a LV Strip property.

Jim Allen Hard Rock CEO

Today, we’re going to look at the details of the recent Hard Rock Las Vegas property sale. We’ll also talk about how soon Hard Rock International could break into Sin City. Let’s get into it!

Hard Rock Las Vegas Property Sold to Virgin Hotels

Back in the early 90s, owners of the Hard Rock Cafe revealed that they were planning to construct a new hotel-casino in Las Vegas. In 1995, this venue officially opened its doors in Paradise, not far from the Las Vegas Strip. It proved to be a success, drawing in both tourists and locals to the casino floor.

Florida’s Seminole Tribe purchased Hard Rock International in 2007 for nearly $1 billion. This new deal excluded rights to operate the Las Vegas property.

In 2006, Morgans Hotel Group agreed to purchase this hotel-casino. As part of the deal, MHG agreed to keep using the Hard Rock name. Over the next five years, ownership of this venue switched several times.

Unfortunately, the casino’s revenue began falling. Since 2008, it struggled to bring in guests and casino players, leading many to call for its sale. In March of 2019, this sale was officially finalized.

Owners announced that they’d sold their Las Vegas property to Virgin Hotels. The Richard Branson-run Virgin Hotels is breaking into the Vegas market for the first time. The company has officially closed this hotel with an opening date scheduled for late 2020.

At first, it looked as if the Hard Rock brand was permanently leaving the Las Vegas market. This does not appear to be the case anymore.

Chairman of Hard Rock International Wants a Las Vegas Property

For fans of the Hard Rock brand, it was a shame to see the Las Vegas property go up for sale.

Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International, recently told the media that he’s interested in opening a hotel-casino here. According to new reports, Allen has been planning a Las Vegas property purchase for months.

Allen claims that the Las Vegas Strip is “certainly” one of the possibilities for a new hotel-casino. He also told the media that Vegas would be “a great opportunity for our brand.”

As of now, it appears that Allen is interested in purchasing Planet Hollywood, or Bally’s. Both of these venues are located in prime locations on the Strip.

Brendan Bussman, a partner at Global Market Advisors, believes that purchasing a Strip property will not be easy.

“There will probably be multiple properties interested,” Bussmann said. “There’s only a few good parcels on the Strip you can do something with.”

The Timing for a Strip Purchase Might be Perfect

This might be the most ideal time for Hard Rock International to make the move into Las Vegas. Several major casino companies here are interested in selling their Strip properties. MGM Resorts, for example, just sold its Circus Circus and Bellagio properties last week!

Eldorado Resorts is another company that’s looking to sell a major hotel-casino. The company is set to acquire Caesars Entertainment soon and wants to get rid of a Strip venue to help make up for the $17.3 billion that it cost to purchase the company.

The purchase of a Las Vegas Strip property may also help Hard Rock’s chances of breaking into the Japanese market. Hard Rock International is making it clear that they’re interested in opening one of the three casino-resorts in Japan.

Las Vegas remains the gold standard for casino companies. Owning a property on the Strip here would be huge for the company’s portfolio. Lawmakers in Japan are currently deciding which US casino companies to grant a gambling license.

We may see Hard Rock return to Las Vegas very soon. Make sure to stay tuned for more news on the situation over the next few weeks!