There is no doubt in my mind that the only way Trump Plaza is going to survive in this tough market is a change in ownership capable of investing some serious cash to remodel and upgrade the property. Trump Plaza is the centerpiece of the Atlantic City Boardwalk, yet seems to be the most outdated.
Well, the California-based Meruelo Group, which owns another casino property in Reno, had negotiated a bargain basement purchase price of $20 million. The plans, according to published reports, include investing $100 million in upgrades. If the sale goes through at the current price, it would be the lowest price ever paid for an AC gaming hall.
However, the popular phrase “location, location, location,” seems to have everything in a holding pattern. According to a story in The Press of Atlantic City, Billionaire and Tropicana owner Carl Icahn, who also holds the mortgage for both the Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal, the $20 million price is not enough.
I still believe the sale will still go through, but at a higher price, maybe in the $35- to $40-million range (I am basing it on the most recent $38 million sale price for Trump Marina). With the prime summer season fast approaching, this is the time to complete the deal.