Former U.S. president Donald Trump‘s first failed Atlantic City casino is no more after a scheduled implosion to bring down the building with much fanfare in New Jersey on Wednesday morning.
Three thousand sticks of dynamite were used to implode the once-glitzy Trump Plaza at 9 a.m. Wednesday, removing what some called an “eyesore” from the cityscape.
Trump opened the casino in 1984 and hosted several high-profile boxing matches at the site, before ditching it due to bankruptcy troubles in the late 2000s and early 2010s. The site fell into disrepair after it closed in 2014, and the derelict building is now owned by billionaire Carl Icahn.
The building was gutted before the scheduled implosion Wednesday, which became a must-see event for many of Trump’s critics.
Local hotels sold viewing packages for the implosion, and nearby Bader Field charged $10 per car to watch the implosion up close.
One Atlantic Events and the city had used the implosion as a fundraising opportunity, auctioning off 10 prime viewing spots to benefit the Atlantic City Boys and Girls Club.
The auction ultimately raised about $17,000, according to One Atlantic Events general manager Elizabeth McGlinn.
“We (have) an unobstructed view of the actual implosion site,” she told the Associated Press. “Everybody is very happy, that is, for the city, the eyesore coming down as well as the opportunity for more growth in the city.”
One Atlantic Events had initially sought to raise $1 million for a front-row seat at the implosion, but the auction fell well short of that goal.
Some on social media were eager to celebrate the demise of the former Trump property. However, Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small downplayed the building’s connection to the one-time president.
“This is not about Donald Trump. This is not about politics,” Small said.
Trump presented himself as a successful businessman throughout his political career, but his Atlantic City gambling operation was anything but. The Trump Plaza was the first of three casinos he opened in the city, and his entire gambling operation ultimately ended in bankruptcy.
“His tenure here ended horribly,” Mayor Small told the New York Times.
The city itself is doing some soul-searching in the middle of the pandemic, which has forced its nine casinos to close their doors or limit their hours.
“We can’t depend on casino gaming anymore,” Small said. “We need to bring new industry here.”
No plans have been announced for the site at this point.
“Immediately after the implosion, that’s where the conversation shifts,” Small said.
— with files from The Associated Press
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