Wednesday, December 1 2021

IIt was a big deal when Donald Trump and some of his minions from “The Apprentice” TV show came to White Plains to celebrate the grand opening of the Trump Tower at City Center, the 35-story luxury building with 212 condominium units which opened on September 21, 2005.

The sign will fall soon. Photo by Peter Katz

Even the potholes of avenue Martine on which the facades of the buildings were paved with fresh asphalt so that the street was impeccable for the occasion. Many of Westchester’s major economic and political players were on hand for opening night to bathe in the glow emitted by Trump’s celebrity, even though his germophobia was visible and he went out of his way to avoid shake hands with as many supporters as possible.

Developer Louis Cappelli, who built the Trump Tower as part of his City Center commercial and residential project on the site of a former Macy’s store, had reached a deal to authorize Trump’s name for the building. The Trump Organization was also recruited for marketing and building management services. The success was not only written into the whole project, but was also a practical reality.

Fast forward to 2021, after “The Apprentice” had long faded from view, Trump had finished four years in the White House and support for Trump was paramount during an insurgency on Capitol Hill meant to prevent Congress from doing so. his work to formalize Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Times have changed and times have changed in downtown Trump Tower.

The majority of condominium owners have come to believe that the time has come to remove the Trump identity from the building, just as it has been removed from certain other licensed properties of the Trump name, including the condominium. 34-story Trump Park Stamford in Connecticut.

Anthony Schembri, chairman of the board of directors of Trump Tower at City Center, told the Business Journal: “It was not uncommon for the brand name to be brought up at board meetings, but it was not. is that in January (after the against the Capitol) that the board of directors decided to launch a poll to really take the temperature of the owners of units and simply to obtain a consensus on the direction desired by the owners of units.

Schembri said the result was that the overwhelming majority, around 68%, wanted a name change for Trump. He said a special owners meeting had been called so that formal votes could be taken regarding the building’s branding change as well as formal changes to legal documents.

trump turn
The Trump Tower. Photo by Peter Katz

The Trump organization, as the managing agent of the building, took care of the day-to-day financial management of the building.

“They sent our payments, they received our maintenance fees, they managed our general ledger, they managed our operating and reserve accounts,” said Schembri.

He said that at the same time that the rebranding was under consideration, a request for proposals was issued for a managing agent. He said the Trump Organization was among those who responded, but quickly withdrew its name from consideration when it became clear that the building’s branding was going to be changed.

“We are not the first Trump building to consider rebranding and rebranding, so this was not a new concept for The Trump Organization, and we have worked with them for over 15 years and have always had good relations, ”said Schembri. noted. “Representatives from The Trump Organization have attended our board meetings and they have heard some of the concerns and listened. They assured us that there would be a smooth transition. It was done with grace and they worked very closely with our new managing agent and it was a very friendly transition. “

Schembri said a committee has been set up to come up with a new name for the building and that they may also hire a marketing company to help it rebrand.

“We are moving fast because the building needs an identity and we want to do whatever we need to do to accelerate that where we can,” said Schembri. “The building is not going anywhere and the building will retain the same level of glitz, glamor and opulence that existed when the building opened.”

Alan Neiditch, former chairman of the building’s board of directors, owns condos in the downtown building and was an active real estate investor and broker in Westchester, told the Business Journal that some people who bought units in the building did so at least in part because of the Trump name.

“It was this chandelier of quality and luxury; a lot of people wanted this and were very happy with it, ”said Neiditch.

“As his presidency continued, people became more unhappy. We have heard anecdotal stories from individuals, brokers and sellers that buyers will not come into the building… but there really weren’t any hard statistics to prove that the name was hurting the values ​​of the building. It was a wonderful property. It was run very well and the building has good staff with good facilities and ran very smoothly.

“But, I think, after the January 6 uprising, it became an overwhelming wave of support to reassess the name. The name now symbolized division, politics.

The transition to a new name for the downtown residential condominium is expected to take several months.

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