This was one deal The Donald could not make.
The world’s most famous real estate developer bid $25 million Tuesday for the 2.5 acres of beachfront property in Atlantic City where the Trump World’s Fair Casino once stood.
Housing developer Bruce Toll bid $25.15 million.
Trump once proposed building a 62-story, 4,600-room hotel and casino on the site. But earlier this year, when his company Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts entered bankruptcy protection he agreed to auction off the land and give the proceeds, plus $17.5 million in cash, to his creditors.
Trump said by telephone on Tuesday that he did not see being outbid as losing.
“I’m really happy because I wanted to get a really good price for the stockholders,” he said. “Whether I got it or not was not that important to me.”
A few months ago, it seemed like keeping the land was a priority, even though it is no longer allowed to house a casino. In July, Trump won the right to start the bidding at Tuesday’s auction at $14.2 million — nearly twice the $7.5 million at which the land was appraised.
Toll, a co-founder of Toll Brothers Inc., the Horsham, Pa.-based land developer, said he only became aware the property was available about a month ago.
He said he intends to put in condominiums, with some stores along the Boardwalk. Toll said he did not have any specifics because an architect had not yet evaluated the space.
Toll has a long history in Atlantic City. At one point, he was a co-owner of Million Dollar Pier. His father owned the Howard Johnson’s Atlantic City, which stood where Caesar’s Atlantic City is now.
Toll said there’s no special thrill in outbidding the host of the “The Apprentice.”
“I know him well. He’s a friend of mine. I eat dinner with him sometimes in Florida,” Toll said. “I don’t think of it as beating him. I just paid what I think the property is worth.”
Jerome Kranzel, director of a commercial real estate brokerage that found the bidders for the auction, said Trump’s creditors were very happy with the winning bid.
Trump took credit for pushing up the price.
“That’s why they love me,” he said of the committee assembled to get the best deal for creditors in the bankruptcy.
The sale is expected to be approved Wednesday by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Judith Wizmur, who is overseeing the reorganization of Trump’s casino company.