Billionaire investor Carl Icahn appears to be getting ready to sell his remaining Atlantic City property, the Trump Plaza. An Icahn-backed company, IEP AC Plaza, recently paid $3 million for the deed to the long-shuttered casino, according to property documents filed in December. (You can have a look at the docs here and h/t to Reuben Kremer for his ceaseless monitoring of the property records).
Icahn’s conglomerate Icahn Enterprises took control of the Trump Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal when the previous owner, Trump Entertainment Resorts, entered bankruptcy in 2014. Icahn sold the Taj Mahal to a consortium of local investors and Hard Rock International in 2017. But his attempts to sell the Plaza were stymied by the site’s ground lease, which was held by earlier investors and acted as a so-called poison pill to prevent the sale, according to the New York Post.
The ground lease for the Boardwalk-fronting property at 2234-2301 Pacific has now been terminated, according to property documents. The Plaza, one of two closed casino carcasses on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, sits between The Walk retail development and access to the beach. Icahn approached the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, tasked with overseeing Atlantic City’s tourism district and economic development, for money to demolish the property. Asbestos removal to prep for demolition took place earlier this year. But The Press of Atlantic City’s David Danzis reported last month that no demolition permit had been filed for the site.
Packaging the property into a stand-alone IEP vehicle follows the pattern Icahn used when he took control of The Chelsea hotel, before selling that to his other casino company, Tropicana. (Icahn sold the Tropicana casinos in 2018). The IEP AC Plaza vehicle appears to have paid off the former leaseholders via the new $3 million deed, which records the seller as an entity called Plaza Hotel Management Company. That company is connected to the lease-owner Stanoff Corporation, owned by businessman Robert K. Lifton. (If you really want to go down Atlantic City memory lane, you can read a snippet about Lifton’s interaction with Donald Trump in Lifton’s book).
We have not reached out or heard back from all the parties involved because of the New Year’s holiday.