Trump’s Chicago Hotel & Tower at Crossroads


Donald Trump’s been claiming he’s worth $10 billion these days, which is a good thing because he may need a good chunk of it if expects to dig himself out of the mess he now finds himself in. The Wall Street Journal recently put a magnifying glass to Trump’s 92-story Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago, and finds that the situation somewhat serious. It appears that the Donald owes a lot of money to a lot of people, and he’s been having difficulty unearthing people who want to live in his swanky digs. Also not helping is the freefalling housing sector, weakened retail sales and the global credit squeeze. Unlike most Trumpian projects-he licenses his name to a developer, collects a fee and assumes no leveraged risk-Trump developed the Chicago tower himself and borrowed from banks to finance construction. When finished, he’ll be able to trumpet it as the tallest building constructed in America since the Sears Tower. But evidently he’s got a little more work to do. The haired-one now owes lenders as much as $1 billion and a fairly substantial sum is due on November 1. Although he’s now in negotiations to extend the loans, even assuming he pushes back the date, the longer-term outlook is not encouraging. Trump has only closed on $200 million in condo sales so far ($380 million worth of apartments are still in contract) and the 100,000-square-foot retail space managed by his son, Eric, is still for sale with few interested buyers.  Of course, the Donald being the Donald, he says that he isn’t stressed. Unlike previous near-bankruptcies-when his own personal fortune was endangered, too-Trump says any problems in Chicago won’t have an impact on his other businesses. So, no, the lines of bottled water and steak aren’t going anywhere.

Via the Wall Street Journal Online