ATLANTIC CITY - Sorry, it doesn't come with fire engines or a brass sliding pole. Those things are long gone.

But the buyer of the historic Pennsylvania Avenue firehouse will get a completely renovated building that has been transformed into corporate office space just two blocks from the ocean.

The asking price is $4.7 million, the same amount casino operator Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. paid in 2006 when it bought the then-abandoned building from the state Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.

Trump Entertainment spent an extra $2.5 million to convert the interior into office space and refurbish the building's red-brick exterior. The company no longer needs the firehouse after consolidating its offices at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, Trump attorney John Donnelly said.

Built in 1921, the firehouse was closed in 1996 amid a city budget crunch. The building is dominated by an imposing tower reminiscent of a Moorish castle and large, arched windows.

"By far, this is the nicest office space in Atlantic City. The fit-out is spectacular," said Joshua Levin, of Levin Commercial Real Estate, the broker handling the sale. "This is quite a flagship office building."

Gerald LaHay, a sales associate in Levin's firm, said the firehouse includes 12,260 square feet of space and 76 parking spaces. Perhaps more than anything else, the landmark building virtually guarantees the buyer a high corporate profile, he added.

"There aren't a lot of freestanding office buildings like this one at this time," LaHay said. "You may have a company out there that is looking for a high-exposure location and image, and this office building offers just that."

Levin said three prospective buyers are looking at the building, but have not made offers. The sale is taking place amid Atlantic City's prolonged real estate slump, although Levin said prices have begun to stabilize and even rise in some sectors of the market.

"There are a lot of New York investors coming to Atlantic City," he said. "What they can get here for $500,000 would cost them millions there."

Trump Entertainment bought the firehouse during the prerecession runup in real estate prices. The company has since begun to sell off some of its holdings as part of its post-bankruptcy restructuring under new ownership led by corporate bondholders aligned with Donald Trump.

Trump Marina Hotel Casino is being sold for $38 million to Landry's Inc., a gaming, restaurant and entertainment conglomerate that will rebrand the gaming hall as a Golden Nugget casino hotel. Trump Entertainment plans to keep the Taj Mahal and Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino.

The Taj Mahal's massive parking garage overlooks the Pennsylvania Avenue firehouse from a block away. Trump Entertainment's decision to renovate the firehouse ensured the survival of a historic landmark - unusual in a city that has demolished many old buildings to make way for new casino construction.

The CRDA acquired the firehouse from the city in 2000 for $250,000. A series of potential redevelopment plans for the building failed before Trump stepped in to buy it from the authority.

Contact Donald Wittkowski:

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