Atlantic City is one of eight communities that received a portion of a $400,000 distribution this week from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA).
The NJEDA announced Wednesday that it’s divvying $400,000 to eight towns to help them create plans to develop, repurpose, or regreen stranded assets, such as vacant land and underutilized retail and office space.
In Atlantic City, the NJEDA funds are to help local officials determine the future of the now-vacant land located at 2500 Boardwalk at the intersection of Pacific and Mississippi avenues. The roughly three-acre parcel is where Trump Plaza stood for nearly 37 years, until the resort’s demolition in February of this year.
The NJEDA awarded Atlantic City a $50,000 grant.
“The City of Atlantic City, in conjunction with Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, will author a plan on the redevelopment of the Plaza Hotel Site, a 1980s era casino resort and adjacent properties,” the NJEDA said in its award.
The funds come as part of the NJEDA’s 21st Century Redevelopment Program. Created in the fall of 2018, the initiative was in response to numerous communities throughout New Jersey trying to combat neighborhood blight.
City Center Opportunity
Carl Icahn retains ownership of the land that was the foundation of Trump Plaza. The billionaire acquired the shuttered former casino through his 2016 takeover of the bankrupt Trump Entertainment Resorts.
Icahn has said he has no plans to develop a new building on the Boardwalk property, nor renovate the remaining Trump Plaza hotel tower that remains standing just north of where the main resort stood.
Atlantic City officials hope the former Trump Plaza site can better serve the community. With its prime location directly adjacent to Jim Wheelan Boardwalk Hall, and within walking distance of the Atlantic City Convention Center, a development to complement the two facilities would be ideal.
The plan will work towards the creation of a development corridor that connects the Convention Center and a new retail development to the Boardwalk and the beach,” the NJEDA said of the Atlantic City project.
The Press of Atlantic City reports that the land in question is already zoned for a variety of uses, including casinos, residential units, a high-rise hotel, amusement park, and/or cinema.
Atlantic City can’t just do whatever it pleases with the approximately three acres. Instead, the ball is in Icahn’s court.
The billionaire — currently worth an estimated $15.7 billion by Forbes — hasn’t publicly stated his intent for Trump Plaza. But area leaders are optimistic that the business tycoon will assist in a meaningful redevelopment of the parcel.
“We are working with Carl Icahn to bring in exciting development,” Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. (D) said earlier this year. “We don’t own the land or control it. We get one shot. Center city, oceanfront doesn’t become available very often.”
Icahn has already done Atlantic City one solid. After a charity auction to hit the demolition button on Trump Plaza was called off because of legal and safety concerns, Icahn agreed to match the high bid at the time — which was $175,000. The money went to the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City.
Icahn also paid for the Trump Plaza demolition, which cost an estimated $14 million.
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