Getting closer to Margaritaville

Despite some rumors to the contrary, it looks like the proposed sale of Trump Marina to New York-based Coastal Development LLC is on track.

According to various news reports, New York-based Coastal Development has secured all of the $316 million sale price, and expects to close the deal for Donald Trump's perennially under-performing bayside gaming hall by early next year at the latest. Coastal CEO Richard Fields has also announced that--again contrary to some gossip--the property will remain open while the complex is transformed into the Margaritaville casino-hotel.

Coastal's purchase of the Marina, and its planned Margaritaville strategy should prove to be an across-the-board winner.

Trump's gambling entity, Trump Entertainment Resorts, wins because the Marina has been a loser pretty much from the day it opened in 1985. It's too small, architecturally challenged (the casino is on the second floor--a no-no as far as gamblers are concerned) and aesthetically inferior (it's uninteresting design begs the name "Trump's Cell Block").

Not only does TER finally rid of itself of the albatross that is the Marina, but it will also have more than a quarter-billion dollars to plow back into its two remaining AyCee operations, the Taj Mahal and Plaza.

The city wins because Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville concept is perfect for AyCee, especially for that nautically inclined property. Buffett's cache with the demographic that casinos crave should make Margaritaville a huge draw (incidentally, the singer-songwriter is not a partner; his company is simply entering into a licensing deal with Coastal Development).

And the theme is a perfect compliment to the casino's two Marina District neighbors, Borgata and Harrah's, both of which tend to market to the same kind of audience Margaritaville is expected to target.

TROP UPDATE: The ongoing, state-sponsored search for a buyer for the beleaguered Tropicana appears to be headed to a denouement: Bids have been submitted by several parties including, we hear, the Planet Hollywood organization. A decision should be announced some time this fall.