Could Property Developer Donald Trump Be The Next POTUS?


Generals, actors, lawyers and community organisers have all become President of the United States and now, with the rise of Donald Trump, it seems a property developer may finally get the top job.

The Donald, who is leading the race to become the Republican presidential nominee, is an iconic developer whose name adorns buildings around America.

These days, he is better known for his television program The Apprentice, his involvement in the Miss Universe pageant, and, of course, politics, but it is property where The Donald made his name.

He is, in fact, a third-generation property developer whose German-born grandfather Frederick  became one of New York's biggest real estate developers following short stints as a restaurateur and brothel keeper.

His father Fred was the owner of the real estate development firm Elizabeth Trump & Son.

Trump, one of five children, was born in the New York suburb of Queens and attended The Kew-Forest School, where his father served as a member of the Board of Trustees.

However, due to behaviour problems, young Donald left the school at age 13 and was enrolled in the New York Military Academy.

He then attended Fordham University in the Bronx for two years.

Trump entered the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, as Wharton then offered one of the few real estate studies departments in U.S. academia, while working in his father's real estate company. He graduated from Wharton in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in economics.

Trump has said that when he graduated from college in 1968, he was already worth about US$200,000 (equivalent to $1,021,000 in 2016).

At age 23 he made an unsuccessful foray into show business, investing $70,000 to become co-producer of the 1970 Broadway comedy "Paris Is Out!", which flopped.

He began his real estate career at his father's company, Elizabeth Trump & Son, which focused on middle-class rental housing in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.

During his undergraduate study, one of Trump's first projects had been the revitalization of the foreclosed Swifton Village apartment complex in Cincinnati, Ohio, which his father had purchased for $5.7 million in 1962.

Fred and Donald Trump became involved in the project and, with a $500,000 investment, turned the 1,200-unit complex's occupancy rate from 34% to 100%.

Trump oversaw the company's 14,000 apartments across Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.

In 1972, The Trump Organization sold Swifton Village for $6.75 million.

In 1971, he moved to Manhattan, where he became involved in larger construction projects, and used attractive architectural design to win public recognition.

Trump came to public attention in 1973 when he was accused by the Justice Department of racist violations of the Fair Housing Act in the operation of 39 buildings, including making false "no vacancy" statements, and presenting higher rents to racial minority applicants, to discourage them from renting.

He later acquired an option to buy the Penn Central Transportation Company property, which was in bankruptcy. This included the 60th Street rail yard on the Hudson River—later developed as Riverside South—as well as the land around Grand Central Terminal, for which he paid $60 million with no money down.

Later, with the help of a 40-year tax abatement from the New York City government, he turned the bankrupt Commodore Hotel next to Grand Central into the Grand Hyatt and created The Trump Organization.

In 1988, he acquired the Taj Mahal Casino in a transaction with Merv Griffin and Resorts International, which led to mounting debt, and by 1989, he was unable to meet loan payments.

Trump Taj Mahal[/caption]Although he secured additional loans and postponed interest payments, increasing debt brought him to business bankruptcy by 1991.

Banks and bondholders had lost hundreds of millions of dollars but opted to restructure the debt. The Taj Mahal emerged from bankruptcy on October 5, 1991, with The Donald ceding 50 percent ownership in the casino to the original bondholders in exchange for lowered interest rates on the debt and more time to pay it off.

He also sold his financially challenged Trump Shuttle airline and his 282-foot megayacht.

The late 1990s saw a resurgence in The Donald's financial situation. The will of his father, who died in 1999, divided an estate estimated at $250–300 million equally among his four surviving children.

In 2001, The Donald completed Trump World Tower, a 72-story residential tower across from the United Nations Headquarters.

Trump World Tower[/caption]Also, he began construction on Trump Place, a multi-building development along the Hudson River.

He owns commercial space in Trump International Hotel and Tower, a 44-story mixed-use (hotel and condominium) tower on Columbus Circle. He also owns several million square feet of prime Manhattan real estate.

Trump International Hotel and Tower, Chicago.[/caption]By 2014, Donald Trump retained only 10% ownership of Trump Entertainment Resorts which owns the Trump Taj Mahal and Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, both in Atlantic City, NJ.

In that year, Trump Entertainment Resorts entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed Trump Plaza indefinitely. Billionaire Carl Icahn purchased the company in 2016, acquiring Trump Taj Mahal and kept Trump's name on the building even though he no longer maintains any ownership.

Trump at opening of the Trump International[/caption]His income for the year 2014 was $362 million dollars (which does not include dividends, interest, capital gains, rents and royalties).


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