Golden Nugget Atlantic City is a hotel, casino, and marina located in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Opened in 1985 as Trump's Castle, it was renamed Trump Marina in 1997. Landry's, Inc. purchased the casino from Trump Entertainment Resorts in February 2011, and the sale was approved in late May. Landry's took control of the property on May 23, 2011.
The resort sits on a 14.6 acres (5.9 ha) property and contains a 74,252 sq ft (6,898.2 m2) casino; 728 guest rooms; seven restaurants; a nightclub; a 462-seat theater; a 16,920 sq ft (1,572 m2) recreation deck with a health spa, outdoor heated pool, hot tubs, cabanas, tennis and basketball courts, and jogging track; 50,922 sq ft (4,730.8 m2) of meeting and function space; a nine-story parking garage with direct walk-through into the complex; and the 640-slip Frank Farley Marina (a public facility owned by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry and managed by Landry's).
The third level is the main area of the property. At its center is a 210 ft (64 m) long reception area from which point every amenity—the casino, ballrooms, restaurants, showroom, or meeting rooms—is within a short walk.
The resort's 2000-seat ballroom and 462-seat theater have played host to a wide array of entertainers including Prince, Sting, Steve Martin, Ray Charles, Billy Crystal, Air Supply and Aretha Franklin. On Memorial Day weekend in 2013 Haven nightclub opened.
The casino was built by Hilton Hotels, but when the building was nearly complete, that company was denied a gambling license by the State of New Jersey due to alleged ties to organized crime and sold the complex to Donald Trump. It opened in 1985 as Trump's Castle. In 1988, the casino became one of the settings for the game show version of Yahtzee, and in 1990 it was the setting for the game show Trump Card.
Revenues at Trump Castle took a sharp decline in 1990 due to competition from its newly opened sister property, Trump Taj Mahal, as well as broader economic factors such as the Gulf War and the early 1990s recession. A payment to bondholders was made in December 1990 only with the help of a $3.5 million purchase of casino chips by Trump's father, Fred Trump, which was later determined to be an illegal loan, for which the casino paid a fine of $30,000. Unable to make its next payment on $338 million in bonds, the Castle began debt restructuring negotiations in May 1991. Hilton offered to repurchase the property for $165 million, which Trump rejected. A deal was ultimately reached to give the bondholders 50 percent ownership of the Castle, in exchange for reduced interest rates and forgiveness of $25 million of debt. The plan was filed as a prepackaged bankruptcy in March 1992.
Trump reacquired full ownership of the Castle in a refinancing deal in December 1993. He then sold the property in September 1996 to his new publicly traded casino company, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, for $130 million in stock plus $355 million in assumed debt.
Trump then began negotiations to sell a 50 percent stake in the property to the Rank Organization for $325 million and convert it into a Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Discussions fizzled in December 1996, and Trump said he would look for a new theme, saying he "never liked the castle theme." Trump next announced an agreement to sell a 51 percent stake in the Castle to Colony Capital for $125 million, which would be used to construct a new hotel tower and re-theme the property as Trump Marina. The sale and expansion were canceled, however, in March 1997.
The Castle was renamed Trump Marina in June 1997. Trump Entertainment Resorts agreed in May 2008 to sell Trump Marina for $316 million to New York-based Coastal Development, who planned to rebrand the property as a Margaritaville casino in partnership with singer Jimmy Buffett. Despite a later price reduction to $270 million, Coastal was unable to find financing, and the agreement was terminated in June 2009. Negotiations continued while Atlantic City casino values plunged, with Coastal offering $75 million for the property in February 2010, but no deal was reached. Bondholders who had taken over Trump Entertainment Resorts after its 2009 bankruptcy remained eager to sell Trump Marina and focus on the company's two other casinos.
Landry's purchased the property for $38 million, taking control on May 23, 2011, and renamed it the Golden Nugget Atlantic City. Landry's then spent $150 million on renovations that were completed in spring 2012, opening new restaurants and clubs and a new outdoor pool and modernizing the resort; the marina was also renovated.
The roof of the Golden Nugget currently houses the transmitter tower and broadcast facilities of WWFP 90.5 FM which is licensed to Brigantine, New Jersey and is owned by the Calvary Chapel of Marlton. The station broadcasts a Christian music format. Formerly WWFP was used as a relay of Liberty University's WVRL in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
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