Contact Us

Was Trump's First Deal Really So Successful?


It’s easy to forget that Donald Trump was a real estate developer before he threw his hat into the political arena. The Republican nominee for president in 2016 found his calling as a real estate developer following his father, Fred Trump, into the industry. In his memoir, The Art Of The Deal, Trump describes his first “big” real estate deal: a residential development in Cincinnati called Swifton Village. Bisnow is taking a closer look at this deal. 

A College Project


Donald Trump transferred from Fordham University to the University of Pennsylvania (above) in his junior year. 

"While my friends were reading the comics and the sports pages of newspapers, I was reading the listings of FHA foreclosures," Trump says in The Art of The Deal. "And that's how I found out about Swifton Village"

His father, Fred Trump, who founded Elizabeth Trump & Son in the 1920s, purchased the failing 1,200-unit apartment complex in Cincinnati in 1962 for $5.7M. Swifton Village was reportedly sold in 1972 for a $6M profit.

Donald took credit for the project's revitalization and subsequent success. The deal became an important part of the growing Trump legend, with Trump dubbing himself the "Cincinnati Kid" after the sale.

Exaggerated Accomplishment? 

President Donald Trump

There are indications that Trump exaggerated his role in turning around Swifton Village. Workers at the apartment complex noted how the younger Trump would perform meager tasks like yard work while his father made the significant renovation decisions.   

Swifton Village also faced legal action from the federal government for race-based discrimination when an African-American man was turned away from the predominantly white neighborhood.

Research by Politico also indicates the $6M profit from the sale was inflated and was closer to $500k.