ATLANTIC CITY — Since 1984, Trump Plaza has been a fixture on the resort’s historic Boardwalk, but that could soon be changing.

Professionals from Trump Entertainment Resorts have been at the site, which closed Sept. 16, 2014, over the last couple weeks examining the feasibility of tearing down the facility, which includes 614 rooms and a 60,000-square-foot casino, seven restaurants, a health club and a 750-seat showroom, all on a narrow 2.6-acre plot.

“Carl Icahn brought in an engineering team to determine what the cost would be to demolish the plaza and the old Holiday Inn,” Mayor Don Guardian said. “I be-lieve that they are vetting that now.”

Guardian said it has yet to be determined what the future holds for the more than 2,600-spot parking garage. Calls to Carl Icahn were not returned.

Demolishing a casino can be a pricey endeavor, said Robert Ambrose, an instructor of hospitality and gaming at Drexel University. Last year, it cost $42 million to raze the 2,100-room Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Ambrose said that while the former casino was a costly structure to renovate, maintaining it also requires money and effort “or you end up with larger structural issues.”

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At the very least, Ambrose said, “I think they should look into saving the garage.”

The possible demolition of the Plaza has forced the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to develop a plan for heating and cooling for Boardwalk Hall. The heating and cooling pipes for the facility run through the Plaza.

“We have a power plant on Atlantic Avenue, and it goes down and connects Claridge to Bally’s to Wild West to Caesars to Trump Plaza to Boardwalk Hall to Caesars Pier,” Guardian said, who is also a member of the state agency’s board of directors. “If they take out Trump Plaza, there is no cooling or heating for Boardwalk Hall or The Pier. That becomes a big issue.”

Building their own power plant would cost approximately $13 million, while rerouting the pipes would cost only $2.7 million, Guardian said.

“We have to make sure we are out in front of it,” said Chris Howard, executive director of the CRDA, adding the agency has not gotten a firm timetable on when or if the Plaza will be razed.

The state report on Atlantic City suggested the demolition of the property to create so-called “greenscapes,” providing convenient access to the Boardwalk and ocean for nongambling visitors that could help re-orient the “new” Atlantic City.

“If the outlets were to expand to the Boardwalk, what a great place to do it.” Ambrose said. “I can only hope if it is torn down it is quickly replaced. Another vacant lot on the Boardwalk is the “tourism landscape” you don’t want. Just look at the former site of the Sands Casino or the Playboy/Atlantis/Trump World’s Fair.”

Contact: 609-272-7046 nhuba@pressofac.com

Twitter @acpresshuba

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