From the Star Ledger:
Trump Plaza, the Boardwalk centerpiece of Donald Trump’s one-time Atlantic City empire, was sold Thursday to a California company for $20 million in the cheapest of a series of bargain-basement deals for distressed gambling halls in the struggling New Jersey seaside resort.
The Meruelo Group of Downey, Calif., plans to close the deal by May 31. It is the lowest price ever paid for a casino in Atlantic City.
The company has not decided on a new name for the casino-resort, but said it will not continue to use the Trump name.
“Trump Plaza is one of the world’s most recognized gaming resort destinations and is an integral part of the Atlantic City landscape,” said Alex Meruelo, founder and CEO of the Meruelo Group. “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.”
Robert Griffin, CEO of Trump Entertainment Resorts, told The Associated Press the deal shows the Atlantic City market is still attractive to investors, given the right price.
“This is good news for the city, for the state, and for the Plaza,” he said. “There is still considerable interest in this market.”
Trump Plaza, which cost $210 million to build, opened in May 1984 as one of Donald Trump’s pet projects. The real estate mogul has since limited his dealings in Atlantic City to a 10 percent stake in Trump Entertainment Resorts.
Trump told The Associated Press he is a bit wistful to see his former properties in Atlantic City sold off and renamed.
“There was a period of time when Atlantic City was the hottest place in the world,” he said. “I got out years ago, and my timing was very good. But the world turns. They’re getting a very good location.”
The sale price was also consistent with the fire-sale prices casinos have been going for lately in Atlantic City. Resorts Casino Hotel sold for $31.5 million in Dec. 2010. Trump Marina Hotel Casino fetched $38 million when it was sold in May 2011 and became the Golden Nugget.