Trump Plaza Casino Sold For Bargain $20m
Trump Plaza, the Boardwalk centrepiece of Donald Trump's one-time Atlantic City empire, has been sold for $20m - the cheapest of a series of bargain-basement deals for distressed gambling halls in the struggling New Jersey seaside resort.
The Meruelo Group of Downey, California, plans to close the deal - the lowest price ever paid for a casino in Atlantic City - by May 31.
The company has not decided on a new name for the casino-resort, but said it will not continue to use the Trump name.
The Meruelo Group, which counts construction, engineering, real estate, food service and private equity among its businesses, also owns the Grand Sierra Resort and casino in Reno, Nevada.
Alex Meruelo, founder and CEO of the Meruelo Group, said: "Trump Plaza is one of the world's most recognised gaming resort destinations and is an integral part of the Atlantic City landscape.
"Our company is thrilled to have the opportunity to become the new owners of this property, and we are firmly committed toward establishing it as one of the elite destinations in Atlantic City and on the East Coast."
Robert Griffin, CEO of Trump Entertainment Resorts, told the AP news agency the deal shows the Atlantic City market is still attractive to investors, given the right price.
He said: "This is good news for the city, for the state, and for the Plaza. There is still considerable interest in this market."
The sale is subject to approval by New Jersey casino regulators.
Trump Plaza, which cost $210m to build, opened in May 1984 as one of Donald Trump's pet projects. The real estate mogul has since limited his dealings in Atlantic City to a 10% stake in Trump Entertainment Resorts.
Mr Trump told the AP he is a bit wistful to see his former properties in Atlantic City sold off and renamed.
He said: "There was a period of time when Atlantic City was the hottest place in the world. I got out years ago, and my timing was very good. But the world turns. They're getting a very good location."
The sale leaves the company he once ran, Trump Entertainment Resorts, with just one casino, the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, which Mr Griffin said his company also would consider selling if the price were right.