Saturday, April 30, 2011

How Donald Trump's Homes Have Boosted His Wealth

Donald Trump has been making a lot of headlines lately. However, that’s nothing new.

His career began in the 1960s, when he took a foreclosed Cincinnati apartment complex and turned it around for a tidy profit. Then he turned his attention to revitalizing pieces of Manhattan real estate that had been forsaken during its 1970s financial crisis. After restoring Central Park’s Wollman Rink in the 1980s, he gained the high profile that he enjoys today, and it shows no signs of abating.

Trump is mostly known for the properties that his company owns, but he is almost as well known for the real estate that he owns privately. As befits a larger-than-life personality such his, he resides in sprawling estates all over the world, all of which have gained notice when he’s bought or sold them, or even just renovated the pool.

Here are the real estate properties that Donald Trump has called home in the last few years, and a few that represent his company’s future:

Trump Tower, New York City

Donald Trump’s primary personal residence is in the Manhattan skyscraper that bears his name, Trump Tower. There are several other Trump Towers in the world, but the one on Fifth Avenue is where he hangs his hat. According to Forbes magazine, the building is worth more than $300 million, and houses the New York office of Qatar Airways, as well as Gucci’s flagship retail location.

The building has stood for almost 30 years, and it’s where the winners of the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants live for a year. Saudi Prince Mutaib bin Abdul-Aziz lives there as well, and he owns an entire floor. However, that’s downright modest compared to the apartment owned by Trump. The building’s most famous resident lives in an apartment that occupies the top three floors of the tower and takes up 30,000 square feet. It’s estimated to be worth $50 million, and it’s considered one of the most valuable apartments in all of New York City.

Maison de L'Amitie, Palm Beach, Florida

Maison de L'Amitie is a 60,000 square - foot piece of real estate that Trump bought for $41 million in 2004. One year later, on season three of The Apprentice, winner Kendra Todd was given the $25 million task of renovating it, and she went all-out, lining it with gold and diamond fixtures.

In 2010, Trump sold the property to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $95 million. That was actually $25 million lower than Trump’s original asking price, but it’s still a 130 percent return on his investment, which led him to characterize the flip as a sign of an improving housing market.

When he sold the mansion, Trump gave up almost 500 feet of ocean, as well as a garage that can fit almost 50 cars and enough bathrooms for 22 people to powder their noses simultaneously. However, he’s also giving up sky-high taxes --- he paid close to $1 million in real estate taxes in 2007 alone.

Seven Springs Estate, Bedford, NY

In 1995, Donald Trump bought a Georgian-style mansion in Bedford, New York for $7.5 million. It was built in 1919 and was once home to former Washington Post owner Eugene I. Meyer Jr. The residence on the 200-acre estate has 13 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, a two-story playroom and a marble, indoor swimming pool.

Trump had originally planned to build a golf course in the area, but he faced opposition from the towns of Bedford, New Castle and North Castle, in part because residents feared that pollution from the chemically treated greens would find its way into the Byram Lake reservoir and contaminate their drinking water.

After scrapping plans for the golf course, Trump decided instead to build 15 luxury homes on the property and renovate the existing ones, including his own. The new properties were expected to occupy approximately 15,000 square feet on 10-acre lots, have their own pools and tennis courts and sell for $25 million each. However, in 2008, Trump halted the project, and he plans to leave it on hold until the housing market recovers.

Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach, Florida

Donald Trump bought Mar-a-Lago, the former estate of General Foods founder Marjorie Merriweather Post, in 1985 for $10 million. Built in the 1920s and declared a national landmark in 1980, the 17-acre estate is a popular event site which has hosted both the International Red Cross Ball and the wedding of Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. It has 12 fireplaces, more than 30 bathrooms and almost 60 bedrooms, as well as three bomb shelters.

In 2006, Trump irritated some local residents when he raised a flag on an 80-foot pole, a height almost twice that allowed by town ordinances. He refused to take it down, and the Palm Beach city council charged him $1,250 a day for every day that it remained aloft. Trump countersued for $25 million, and the matter dragged on for six months. It was finally settled when he agreed to lower the flag 10 feet, move it away from the ocean and donate $100,000 to Iraqi War Veterans’ charities.

Trump National Golf Course, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

Recently, Donald Trump spent time in the Southern California city of Rancho Palos Verdes overseeing the construction of the Trump National Golf Course. While he was there, he stayed in the estate that he is currently selling for $12 million. It overlooks both the Pacific Ocean and the new golf course. Today, the golf club is the third largest employer in Rancho Palos Verdes, with 300 people on its payroll.

The 11,000 square - foot mansion is actually somewhat restrained and modest by Trump standards. It has two stories, nine bathrooms and five bedrooms, as well as a four-car garage and a pool. The home is meant to take its place among 50 other estates that will comprise an exclusive community.