The War at the Shore: Donald Trump, Steve Wynn, and the Epic War to Save Atlantic City

Overview

The high-stakes battle between two casino titans over the Vegas of the East Coast.

It’s all quiet now on the eastern front of the American gaming industry—Atlantic City, New Jersey—but for five chaotic years, real estate developer Richard “Skip” Bronson was at the white-hot center of a titanic clash of money and power that transformed Atlantic City from a struggling day-tripper place with buses in and out to a born again destination drawing ...

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The War at the Shore: Donald Trump, Steve Wynn, and the Epic Battle to Save Atlantic City

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Overview

The high-stakes battle between two casino titans over the Vegas of the East Coast.

It’s all quiet now on the eastern front of the American gaming industry—Atlantic City, New Jersey—but for five chaotic years, real estate developer Richard “Skip” Bronson was at the white-hot center of a titanic clash of money and power that transformed Atlantic City from a struggling day-tripper place with buses in and out to a born again destination drawing tourists from New York, Philadelphia, and other major cities along the eastern seaboard.

From 1995 to 2000, two of the world’s best-known companies— Mirage Resorts and Trump Resorts—run by two of the most flamboyant businessmen of our time, fought a bare-knuckled, high-stakes battle over a prime piece of real estate in one of America’s most famous resort towns. No money was spared, no punch was pulled, no invective went unhurled in "The War at the Shore." Now Bronson, who was a member of the board of directors of Mirage and president of New City Development Company, the Mirage subsidiary whose primary purpose was to build a top-level new casino and hotel complex in Atlantic City, tells the inside story of this epic struggle.

Along the way, Bronson weaves in fascinating and inspiring anecdotes from his complicated past: A product of a fractured family and city-owned housing project in Hartford, Connecticut; former paperboy, spelling bee champion yet college dropout; and prolific developer of shopping centers and office buildings—including CityPlace, Connecticut’s tallest skyscraper, Bronson embodies the self-made business success story. Gripping from beginning to end, The War at the Shore is a rare up-close look at the world of casino development and the essential modern chapter in the history of America’s “Boardwalk Empire.”

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Real estate developer Bronson describes his role in revitalizing Atlantic City’s gambling and tourism industries in this unfocused business memoir. Between touching on Bronson’s personal life and status as a self-made man, most of the narrative is spent in the 1990s, detailing the lengthy process of trying to open a new casino on the East Coast. Bronson became involved with gaming when, after his previous real estate ventures collapsed, he formed a partnership with famed Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn. The two first set their sights on Bronson’s economically depressed hometown of Hartford, Conn., but failed to win over policymakers. A strategic shift to Atlantic City found the pair outbidding Donald Trump for land on which to build their planned Le Jardin casino. Bronson and his coauthors wring drama from the struggle to win public opinion against Trump’s public broadsides, but beyond Trump’s famous name this anticlimactic story’s general appeal is stunted by its conclusion—a takeover of the development which shut out Wynn and Bronson—and by unrewarding digressions into celebrity name-dropping and tangential anecdotes. (June)
From the Publisher
"Two powerful personalities clash in this first-hand account of Steve Wynn's bid to open a new casino on Donald Trump's turf. An engaging insider's account of the down-and-dirty machinations that go into high-stakes real estate development."--Kirkus

"War at the Shore is a great look inside why Wynn left Atlantic City the second time, and provides a good perspective in general on the political and deal-making (not design side) of casino development." -- David G. Schwartz

Kirkus Reviews
Two powerful personalities clash in this firsthand account of Steve Wynn's bid to open a new casino on Donald Trump's turf. In the mid-to-late 1990s, Atlantic City, N.J., was Donald Trump's town; as the man behind the Trump Plaza, the Trump Castle and the Trump Taj Mahal, the Donald held a huge stake in the city—one that he wasn't open to sharing with others. So when world-famous gaming magnate Steve Wynn, whose Mirage Resorts had at one time owned and operated the Golden Nugget Atlantic City, sent right-hand man, and our narrator, "Skip" Bronson to town to begin the process of turning an undeveloped former landfill into a glittering world-class casino and resort, Trump moved into overdrive to stop them. Still smarting from a recent failed attempt to set up shop in Connecticut, Bronson and his team quickly decided that transportation would be key to the casino's success, so they came up with the idea of the Brigantine Connector—a tunnel that would funnel gamers from the interstate under some of the seedier sections of town and directly to the front door of Wynn's proposed casino. Trump realized that without the tunnel, Wynn's project probably wouldn't take off, so through a mix of lawsuits, outrageous public statements and bombs lobbed via the local press, Trump and his allies tried their best to stop construction. As a firsthand participant in the struggle between these two powerful men, the author presents a full account of the conflict and a detailed behind-the-scenes view of the incredible amount of bureaucratic squabbling, glad-handing and negotiation that goes on before a development of this scale can take place, not to mention the many places such a project can suddenly go flying off the tracks. Bronson, whose writing is clear and warm, packs the story with many anecdotes from his long career as a developer. While the digressions are usually funny, they can occasionally detract from the main narrative, but overall they add to the book's welcoming, conversational tone. An engaging insider's account of the down-and-dirty machinations that go into high-stakes real estate development.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781468300468
  • Publisher: Overlook
  • Publication date: 5/24/2012
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 713,180
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard D. Bronson is the Chairman and Founder of U.S. Digital Gaming. Bronson has also been one of the nation’s leading commercial real estate developers, with the successful development of over 100 properties, including casino hotels, shopping centers, and office buildings. In addition to his involvement with numerous charitable organizations, Bronson serves on the Board of Directors of Starwood Property Trust. He lives in Beverly Hills, CA.
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Table of Contents

Prologue 9

Chapter 1 Chasing the Prize 15

Chapter 2 Code Red 27

Chapter 3 Take a Hike 47

Chapter 4 Gorilla Wrestling 61

Chapter 5 Anyone for Tunnel? 75

Chapter 6 That Domain Thing 89

Chapter 7 The 4th of July Massacre 109

Chapter 8 The Summer of Silence 125

Chapter 9 March of the Suits 143

Chapter 10 "Royals" Royce 155

Chapter 11 The Ecology Card 173

Chapter 12 Against All Odds 185

Chapter 13 The End, The Beginning 199

Epilogue 213

Notes 219

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