Trump Plaza, the Boardwalk centerpiece of Donald Trump's onetime Atlantic City empire, was sold today to a California company for $20 million in the cheapest of a series of bargain-basement deals for distressed gambling halls in the New Jersey seaside resort. The Meruelo Group of Downey, California, 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 it will not continue to use Trump's.
Trump Plaza, which cost $210 million to build, opened in May 1984 as one of Trump's pet projects. The real estate mogul has since limited his dealings in Atlantic City to a 10% stake in Trump Entertainment Resorts. Trump says 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 says. "I got out years ago, and my timing was very good. But the world turns. They're getting a very good location."