California company's deal for Trump Plaza put on hold

A California development company that had planned to buy the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City said on Friday that it was delaying the deal at least temporarily because Trump Entertainment has been unable to obtain a release of the mortgage held by its senior secured lender.

The company, Meruelo Group, said in mid-February it had reached a deal to buy the Trump Plaza for $20 million and planned to spend up to five times that amount on upgrades.

Meruelo’s deal to buy the Plaza was for less than a tenth of what Donald Trump paid to build it in 1984.

Resorts Atlantic City and Trump Marina, were also sold in recent years at bargain prices as gambling revenues continue to tumble in the East Coast resort city.

In a statement Friday, the company said it was “heartened” because it has been able to secure from Trump Entertainment an option to purchase the Plaza later this year if Trump can satisfy its mortgage with their current lender. The company said it remains “fully committed to acquiring the Plaza,” and is focused on becoming a part of Atlantic City.

Meruelo Group owns the Grand Sierra in Reno.