Trump Plaza's buyer says sale is on hold

Posted: April 22, 2013

ATLANTIC CITY - The California development company that plans to buy Atlantic City's Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino for $20 million says the deal is on hold.

In a statement issued late Friday, the Meruelo Group said the sale could not currently be completed as planned because Trump Entertainment had been unable to obtain the release of a mortgage held by a "senior secured lender."

When the deal was announced in February, Meruelo said it hoped to close the sale by May 31

The Press of Atlantic City said Trump spokesman Brian Cahill confirmed Meruelo's statement but had no further comment.

Xavier Gutierrez, chief investment officer for the Downey, Calif.-based Meruelo Group, did not respond Saturday to a request for comment from the Associated Press.

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 Plaza is one of the first casinos many visitors to Atlantic City see. It sits at the foot of the Atlantic City Expressway on the Boardwalk, directly next to Boardwalk Hall, and sometimes markets itself as being in "the center of it all."

It stands 39 stories over the Boardwalk and has 906 hotel rooms, ranking it among the smallest of the city's 12 casinos, the most successful of which have 2,000 or more rooms.

Trump Plaza has struggled in recent years, despite its central location. It finished last in 2012 in gambling revenue among Atlantic City's casinos, grossing $102.5 million. Its gambling revenue plunged 25 percent overall for the year, including 46 percent from table games.

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