Trump Plaza, The Donald's Atlantic City Anchor, Sold for Just $20M

Friday, 15 Feb 2013 11:20 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Trump Plaza, the former centerpiece of billionaire Donald Trump's Atlantic City empire, was sold Thursday for a mere $20 million.

The property was purchased by the Meruelo Group, a Downey, Calif.-based a construction and real estate development firm that has already announced its intention to rename the space after paying the lowest price ever for an Atlantic City casino.

Trump spent $210 million to build the hotel casino, which opened in 1984.

In recent years, the real estate mogul has been reducing his holdings in Atlantic City, which has seen a significant revenue drop since 2010 after Pennsylvania legalized casino table games.

In May 2011, Trump sold the Trump Marina Hotel Casino for $38 million to Houston billionaire Tilman Fertitta. Fertitta invested $100 million into renovating the 14-acre casino marina and renamed it the Golden Nugget Atlantic City.

Trump appeared wistful about the sale in an interview with The Associated Press.

"There was a period of time when Atlantic City was the hottest place in the world," Trump said. "I got out years ago, and my timing was very good. But the world turns. They're getting a very good location."

Alex Meruelo, founder and CEO of the Meruelo Group, said the company is excited about the venture.

"Trump Plaza is one of the world's most recognized gaming resort destinations and is an integral part of the Atlantic City landscape," Meruelo said. "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."

The Trump Plaza has 39 stories that overlook the Boardwalk and 906 hotel rooms. It is one of the city's smallest of 12 casinos, most of which have 2,000 or more rooms available.

Despite its location in the middle of the boardwalk, Trump Plaza has struggled in recent years. In 2012, the hotel casino brought in about $102 million.

In comparison, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, one of the city's most successful hotel casinos, generated approximately the same revenue in just two months, according to the AP.

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