What Donald Trump Owns—And What He Doesn't—In NYC
Donald Trump's name is so frequently blazoned throughout NYC that it can be hard for many to disassociate the real estate mogul (and now Republican presidential candidate) from the Big Apple.
But, as CBRE Tri-State CEO Mary Ann Tighe noted on CNBC's Squawk Box, while The Donald owns a number of high-class residential properties throughout NYC, he actually has only a few commercial holdings.
We decided to take a look at what Trump truly owns in NYC's commercial market, what he's lost, and what's still bearing his name.
Bio: A 58-story mixed-use skyscraper on Fifth Ave, the Trump Organization's HQ also houses the real estate mogul's penthouse condo and was the site of The Apprentice. The tower was built on the former site of the Bonwit Teller flagship store, which Trump bought in 1979. Originally planning to preserve the Bonwit Teller's limestone Art Deco exterior and donate the statues of goddesses to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Trump changed plans, citing safety concerns. However, the move was met with criticism, including by then-Mayor Ed Koch, who said Trump had failed his "moral responsibility to consider the interests of the people of the city.” Trump opened the Tower (which he called the city's "first super-luxury high-rise") in 1983. Gucci operates at the Tower's northeast corner.
The Donald's Involvement: The tower was developed by Trump and the Equitable Life Assurance Co (now the AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co). The construction process had several controversies, including Trump suing a contractor for "total incompetence" and an argument with Mayor Koch about getting a tax exemption for the tower. He was also sued for using unpaid, undocumented Polish laborers. Trump claimed he had known nothing about the workers. There have also been recent controversies about a use of concrete possibly connected to organized crime and claims that female executives were denied entry into the site because of their gender.
The Trump Building at 40 Wall St
Bio: The 1.3M SF, 72-story tower opened in 1930 after only 11 months of construction and was once the tallest building in the world before being quickly being one-upped by the Chrysler Building. Originally known as the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building, the building's founding tenant went on to become Chase Manhattan Bank.
The Donald's Involvement: The tower had remained vacant for years after Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos was removed from power and had his US assets frozen. Trump purchased the property in 1995 and spent more than $200M in renovations. He attempted to sell the building for more than $300M in 2003, but received no offers. He has asserted that he purchased the building for only $1M but has given various values for the current worth. There's currently a $50M outstanding mortgage on the property.
1290 Avenue of the Americas
Bio: Designed by Emery Roth & Son, the 43-story, block-spanning office tower opened in 1964 and was renovated in 2013.
The Donald's Involvement: Trump acquired a stake in the tower for $1.76B when he was forced to sell his stake in West Side railyards to an Asian investor group. Trump now owns a 30% stake in the Vornado-owned building, which is said to be worth around $1.5B.
Bio: Located in southern Central Park, the public rink opened in 1949 and was named after donor Kate Wollman, who donated $600k to the rink on behalf of her family. The rink has hosted a series of concerts—seeing the likes of Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Led Zeppelin and more—but now only serves as an ice rink or the site of the Victorian Gardens Amusement Park.
The Donald's Involvement: Koch closed the rink in 1980 to renovate the rink for a proposed $9.1M over two years. However, the renovations hit several snags, and was still not completed six years and $13M later. In 1986, Trump convinced the mayor to let him complete the renovations in only four months and for a price tag of $2.5M. Trump operated the rink until 1991, when operations were then handed to George Makkos' Makkos Organization. In 2001, however, the Trump Organization announced it would JV with Rink Management Services for the operations/ownership of the Wollman and Lasker rinks. The Trump name is featured heavily throughout the Wollman, even on the zamboni, and the rink generates around $8.7M a year.
The Empire State Building
Bio: One of New York's most iconic buildings, the 102-story tower was the world's tallest building for nearly 40 years. The Art Deco tower has even been named as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Now owned by Anthony Malkin's Empire State Realty Trust, the ESB was renovated in 2010 for a cost of $550M, becoming more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, now boasting a LEED Gold certification. Tenants of the building include LinkedIn, Qatar Airways and Shutterstock.
The Donald's Involvement: Trump Empire State Partners—a JV of The Donald and Japanese billionaire Hideki Yokoi—bought the building in 1994 for $42M. Trump spent $70M in capital improvements on the ESB before selling it to Malkin in 2002 for $57.5M.
The Plaza Hotel
Bio: The 250-foot, 20-story landmark luxury hotel and condominium is the definition of luxury, offering a butler on every floor, a shopping mall, a champagne bar, baby-sitting and concierge services, and numerous ballrooms, banquet halls and conference rooms. Opening in 1907, the Plaza has hosted a number of famous names, including Liza Minnelli, Miles Davis, The Beatles (who chose the Plaza during their first US visit in 1964) and Truman Capote.
The Donald's Involvement: Trump bought the Plaza from Conrad Hilton in 1988 for $407.5M, telling the New York Times that he had "purchased a masterpiece." Installing his wife, Ivana, as president, Trump put $50M in renovations into the hotel, helping it earn a healthy income. It was not enough to offset the building's heavy debt, and Trump planned to sell off units as condos before reaching a deal with creditors to take a 49% stake in the hotel in exchange for debt forgiveness. In 1993, he used the ballroom for his wedding to Marla Maples. In 1995, he sold the controlling stake of the plaza to CDL Hotels International and Saudi prince Al-Waleed bin Talal for $325M. The Plaza is now owned by Sahara India Pariwar.
The GM Building
Bio: Completed in 1968, the 50-story, 1.8M SF General Motors tower occupies an entire city block and sits on the site of the former Savoy-Plaza Hotel. It houses Estée Lauder, IMG, York Capital Management and Icahn Enterprises. Its street-level lobby was originally a showroom for GM vehicles, but then became the iconic flagship for FAO Schwarz. At the base of the building, Apple has its iconic glass cube store.
The Donald's Involvement: Trump and insurance giant Conseco purchased the tower in 1998 for $878M. Raising the sunken plaza, Trump branded the ground with his name in four-foot gold letters and added two fountains. In 2003, the Trump Organization sold the tower to the Macklowe Organization for $1.4B, the highest price for a North American office building at the time. The tower is currently owned by a JV of Boston Properties, Zhang Xin and the Safra banking family.
The Grand Hyatt Hotel
Bio: Opening as the Commodore Hotel in 1919, the hotel once claimed to have the "most beautiful lobby in the world" with its low ceilings and a waterfall. Under the vision of Bowman-Biltmore Hotels Corp president John McEntee Bowman, the hotel hosted a circus in its grand ballroom and had an orchestra in its Century Room, and was even the first hotel in NYC to show in-room movies in 1972. By the late 1970s, however, the Commodore was on the verge of shuttering in 1976 before being picked up by the Trump Organization and the Hyatt Corp.
The Donald's Involvement: In the deal, Trump was granted a 40-year tax abatement, the first ever granted to a commercial property. In 1980, he completed his first construction project in Manhattan as he modernized the space, with the exception of the grand ballroom's foyer. Trump sold his 50% stake in the tower to Hyatt in 1996 for $142M.
610 Park Avenue
Bio: In the heart of the Upper East Side, the former Mayfair Regent Hotel was converted into luxury condos while still preserving many of the pre-war building's historic elements. According to the Trump Organization website, the condos sold out well in advance of the renovation's completion.
The Donald's Involvement: Although the property is owned by Colony Capital, the Trump Organization assisted with the renovation. According to one anonymous source, Trump tried to associate his name with the project and put Trump signage all around the property, asserting that it would help the units sell better, but was eventually reminded by Colony Capital CEO Tom Barrack that Donald's involvement was limited to the renovation of the property
Bio: A $3B urban development project in the Upper West Side, the project was started by a partnership of Donald Trump, the Municipal Art Society, the Natural Resources Defense Council, New Yorkers for Parks, the Regional Plan Association, the Riverside Park Fund and Westpride. The site was originally the site of the New York Central Railroad, and now features both the Trump Place residential tower and the Riverside Center.
The Donald's Involvement: The Trumps first approached the property in 1974, submitting a plan for 12,450 apartments, which eventually fell through. The site was purchased by Argentina-based Macri Group and investor Abe Hirschfeld in 1979, but Trump bought the rights in 1985 for $95M. Between 1985 and 1989, he proposed several ideas for the property, the first being a complex known as Television City that would hold NBC's HQ, but met fierce opposition due to its size and eventually fell through when NBC decided to remain in Rockefeller Center. He then changed the plan to include more office buildings and called the complex Trump City. He was soon forced to side with his critics and work on an alternative plan. In addition to being a partner on the initial development, Trump sold the development to Chinese investors, who took over construction in 1995 while he remained the face. These investors then sold portions of the site to Carlyle Group and Extell Development in 2005.
Bio: The 46-story, 391-unit hotel-condominium was completed in 2010 and cost around $450M. Despite being in a manufacturing zoned region, the design was negotiated and approved by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on the condition that the units, although privately owned, couldn't be occupied by the "same person for more than 29 days in any 36-day period, or for more than 120 days a year." Otherwise, the unit had to be rented out as a hotel suite. The building boasts a spa, a public garden, a restaurant, a 12k SF conference room space and other amenities.
The Donald's Involvement: The original plans of the tower were unveiled on The Apprentice, but the building is actually a partnership with Bayrock Group and Tamir Sapir. And, although Trump, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Apprentice season 5 winner Sean Yazbeck are overseeing the project, none of them have invested their own capital into it. This may have been a smart idea, as the tower experienced multiple issues during construction and financing, and was even part of a massive fraud lawsuit in 2011, where plaintiffs claimed they were tricked into buying condos by "deceptive" sales figures. The case was settled with the plaintiffs receiving 90% of their deposits.
Trump International Hotel and Tower
Bio: Originally known as the Gulf and Western, the 583-foot-tall high-rise hotel-condominium at 1 Central Park West is actually owned by the General Electric Pension Trust. Built in 1969, the building received a new façade in 1997, and was the setting of the Ben Stiller-led comedy crime film Tower Heist.
The Donald's Involvement: Trump provided his name to GE during the building's 1994 redevelopment for a hefty fee of $40M. Despite bearing his name, The Donald's stake at the tower is believed to be $12M.