Icahn to Sell Atlantic City Trump Taj Mahal to Hard Rock International
After revealing plans to sell the iconic Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City last month, business magnate Carl Icahn has revealed his intention to offload the property to Hard Rock International and two New Jersey investors, Joseph Jingoli and Jack Morris. The two are currently working on a new campus of Atlantic City’s Stockton University and serving as CEO of Edgewood Properties, respectively.
Billionaire investor Icahn revealed his and the proposed buyers’ plans for the iconic casino and resort Wednesday, though no sale price has been revealed. Ichan had shuttered the property four months ago following an employee strike that made continued operations unfeasible.
Following the decision, Ichan reportedly quipped that one casino in town was enough, referring to his ownership of the Atlantic City Tropicana Casino and Resort. He went on in his statement released Wednesday, revealing, “We … are extremely happy with our ownership of the Tropicana Casino and Resort, and after considerable analysis and deliberation we determined that we only wanted to own one operating casino property in Atlantic City. A sale of the Taj Mahal therefore represents the optimal outcome for us. We wish Hard Rock and its partners the best of luck with the Taj Mahal.” The Hard Rock International had initially mulled over investing with Meadowlands Racetrack owner Jeff Gural in erecting a casino venue at Northern New Jersey venue.
Chairman of Hard Rock International Jim Allen released a statement following the revelation, “We are excited to be part of this revitalization of Atlantic City creating thousands of jobs to help local employment. We are 100 percent convinced Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City will be a success.” Allen went on to reiterate a commitment to investing as much as $300 million in the purchase, renovation and rebranding of the iconic seaside gambling venue.
The two additional investors offered their thoughts on the deal, with Jingoli stating, “This project is led by a proven leader in gaming, brings hundreds of million dollars in new investment, creates hundreds of construction positions, countless positions within the Hard Rock Casino Hotel and will bring thousands and thousands of new visitors to this great city.” Morris added, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of revitalizing one of our nation’s most iconic destinations.”
The State’s Position on the Sale
With a long running economic slump still affecting New Jersey’s seaside gambling destination, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is optimistic in light of the transition of ownership. He released a statement of his own on Wednesday night, offering, “There is no doubt that this purchase was encouraged by our efforts to stabilize the finances of the city government. Businesses now know that the years of irresponsible spending and taxing by the city government are over and they are ready to once again invest in Atlantic City.” It is believed the deal will lead to the creation of more than 3,000 jobs for the city and signal a turnaround from the opulence once characterized by Trump’s former property.
Several Atlantic City casinos were forced to shut their doors in 2014, with four others falling out of operation between then and now. Christie’s administration undertook a controversial level of involvement in many of the city’s operations last November as an effort to help alleviate economic factors that signaled a trajectory for the city headed into bankruptcy.
State Senate President Stephen Sweeny was a vocal opponent of Icahn’s decision to close the Taj Mahal in November. However, he has since made public his optimism at the announcement Icahn’s decision to sell the property to Hard Rock International, stating, “This sale proves that the steps we have taken to stabilize Atlantic City’s economy are already paying dividends, in terms of greater confidence and marketability on the part of local businesses.”
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