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Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021




Trump Tower Goes From Penthouse to Outhouse

Midtown, Manhattan

Trump Tower Tanks

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May 16, 2019

Trump Tower, once the crown jewel in Donald Trump’s real estate empire, now ranks as one of the least desirable luxury condominium properties in Manhattan, Bloomberg reports. In a word, it has gone from the penthouse to the outhouse.

Why? Let us count the ways. The gaudy black-and-gold Fifth Avenue tower has been turned into a fortress since Trump won the presidency, ringed with concrete barriers, its two main entrances partially blocked off. Security personnel often outnumber civilians in the lobby and atrium. The building hasn’t been substantially updated in years. And Trump’s name has been such a huge turnoff in liberal New York City that numerous condominium buildings have stripped his name from their facades. 

Oh, and most unit sales in Trump Tower over the past two years have led to a loss – sometimes greater than 20 percent. The commercial portion of the building has been struggling for months to find tenants for more than 42,000 square feet of vacant office space, despite advertising rents well below the area’s average. The building’s occupancy rate has plunged over the last seven years from 99 percent to 83 percent, giving it a vacancy rate that’s roughly double Manhattan’s average. 

These days, gawkers sometimes outnumber the customers of the building’s remaining retail stores. Many come to ogle the 60-foot waterfall and acres of tasteful pink marble. 

"It’s totally a tourist trap," says Barbara Res, a former Trump Organization executive who oversaw the building’s construction.“I don’t think I would want an office in Trump Tower. Why would you go there? It’s a wonder he doesn’t have 50 percent vacancy.” 

“The name on the building became a problem,” adds Michael Sklar, who sold his parents’ 57th-floor unit in October for $1.83 million, a slight loss. “No one wants in that building.”

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