Bidders could soon compete for a front-row seat to watch the demolition of Trump Plaza, the vacant, derelict former Atlantic City casino that once featured the former president’s name in glowing red letters.
An auction for the right to press the button to blow up the building, which has been vacant since 2014, fell through this week because of opposition from the owner. Joe Bodnar, owner of Bodnar‘s Auction which ran the original auction, said he expects to hold another auction for seats at a “viewing party” to watch the tower come down sometime next month.
“We have another auction that looks like it’s going to take place and that should materialize later today or tomorrow, but it looks like we’re going to be selling a viewing party,” Bodnar said in a phone interview Wednesday. “You get to come and be a guest of the city and watch the implosion as close as you can.”
Because of its obvious symbolism, the initial auction to press the demolition button made national headlines and topped out with a high bid of $175,000 that was to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City. But the building’s owner — casino mogul ally Carl Icahn, an ally of former President Donald Trump — put the kibosh on the idea Monday, citing safety concerns.
Icahn’s foundation plans to donate the money directly.
Neither Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small nor a spokesperson for the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City could immediately be reached for comment.
Bodnar said the plan for the new auction is to offer 10 pairs of seats to the viewing party. While bids will start at $10 each, Bodnar estimates each pair could fetch $3,000 to $5,000.
“But I’m thinking with everything that’s under the sun here, it could go as well as the first sale did,” Bodnar said.
Bodnar said he does not believe Icahn’s permission is necessary for the event.
“My understanding is as long as his name’s out of it and as long as it has nothing to do with him — just the city,” he said.
Trump Plaza — the first of three casinos Trump owned in the seaside resort city — opened in 1984 and was closed in 2014, one of several in the city to go dark as it suffered from competition in neighboring states. The following year, Trump’s Castle, later renamed Trump Marina, opened. It was sold in 2011 and operates today as the Golden Nugget. Another Trump Atlantic City casino, Trump Taj Mahal, opened in 1990 and closed in 2016. The building survives and is now the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.