Donald Trump: ‘Neighborhood’s going to get better and better’
Loop North News

Donald Trump: “Neighborhood’s going to get better and better”

Photo by Steven Dahlman

(Above) Employees of River North’s Trump International Hotel & Tower look on as Donald Trump (surely we do not have to point him out to you) presents Colm O’Callaghan, general manager, with an award on Wednesday recognizing the Chicago location’s performance among the company’s collection of nine luxury hotels. (Click on image to view larger version.)

15-Mar-12 – There was no “down time” during the two hours Donald Trump spent in River North on Wednesday, and that will please him the most. He certainly did not come to Trump International Hotel & Tower for rest and relaxation.

Trump met with reporters in the hotel’s new “board room” overlooking the Chicago River through floor-to-ceiling windows on the 17th floor. He was asked about the Trump properties, the Trump brand, the new chef at the Chicago tower’s restaurant, the Riverwalk, how he stays healthy, new resident Derrick Rose, and The Celebrity Apprentice, a television show Trump hosts.

His biggest concern appears to be the under-utilized retail space along the north bank of the Chicago River, a responsibility delegated to his son, Eric Trump.

“I wanted to get the hotel open and the residential open and have them be really successful,” says Donald. “And now that that’s done, now we’re going to focus on the retail/commercial space and probably we’ll be announcing something over the next month or so.”

One possibility is that instead of retail stores, the area could be used as meeting space or ballrooms that overlook the river.

“It’s a fabulous space,” he says. “I didn’t want to be renting space in a bad market. Now that the market is better…we’re doing something. We have a lot of options.”

Photo by Steven Dahlman
(Above) Lower floors and Riverwalk at Trump International Hotel & Tower last June from the south side of the Chicago River.

Drawn to the old Sun-Times location north of the Loop because “it was always considered to be the best site in Chicago,” Trump says it was “very important that we did a great job” with Trump Tower.

“And we did. I mean, we built a great building, whereas other people failed. And you see the hulks lying all over the city, where they were not completed. So we got it completed and…it’s an amazing building.”

Trump’s lack of modesty is legendary, of course, but he is convinced the tower is “a building that will never happen again.” Built in an era of easier financing, the project is valued at $1.2 billion, of which Trump has reportedly invested $112 million.

“The banks will never be able to put up this kind of money to build the building, and probably wouldn’t if they could.”

He is bullish on their River North location to which they have redirected luxury hotel customers from Michigan Avenue. “I think the neighborhood’s going to get better and better, but I’m more focused on what we can do.”

Trump says he visits Chicago about once a month to meet with staff and “make sure everything is good.”

“It’s a unique city,” he told Marina City Online. “It’s a beautiful city. It’s got great architecture. I’ve been here many, many times. I have many friends here. And it’s really a city that’s doing very well. I love Chicago. I’ve always loved Chicago. I love this area.”

On Langham Chicago, building its own luxury hotel across the street from Trump Tower in 330 North Wabash: “It’s a conversion of an office building. I think it’s great for us. I think we’ll work together. I think it’s going to be great for the hotel business.”

On the rest of the competition: “I don’t see competition as being a bad thing. I don’t think we’re competitors. I think we work together. Nobody can compete with this location and nobody can compete with this building. We’re not worried.”

(Right) Donald Trump speaks with a reporter from Forbes.com.

Photo by Steven Dahlman

On Chicago Bulls player Derrick Rose, whose real estate broker tipped local media recently about the $2.8 million condo unit Rose purchased at Trump Tower: “Derrick Rose is just a superstar, a great player. And yes, I heard he just moved in and we love having Derrick Rose in the building.”

 Related story: Trump influence towers over River North

By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News | sdahlman@loopnorth.com

Published 15-Mar-12 1:24 AM

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