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Update on South Florida Projects
 Branded with the Trump Name

By Doreen Hemlock, Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

March 17, 2010--The condo-hotel known as Trump International Hotel & Tower on Fort Lauderdale beach faces foreclosure, but that's just one of several projects in South Florida linked to real estate mogul Donald Trump.

The South Florida ventures typically involve licensing the Trump name under certain conditions, not equity investments from Trump or his New York-based Trump Organization.

In Broward County, Trump's name graces only one property now open: the Trump Hollywood, a 200-unit condo tower that debuted last summer.

Plans for the 95-unit Trump Las Olas condos in Fort Lauderdale never materialized.

And Trump appears to have pulled away from the unfinished 298-unit condo-hotel on Fort Lauderdale beach that now faces foreclosure by an investment group led by Starwood Capital.

Here's an update on Trump projects in the area, culled from interviews and Sun Sentinel archives:

Trump Hollywood: Opened in mid-2009, the 41-story beachfront tower boasts 200 condos that were selling last summer at prices starting at $1.3 million. Preconstruction prices in 2006 began at $1.5 million.

Developers were Miami-based Related Group, led by Jorge Perez, and Boca Raton-based Ocean Land Investments. The Trump group was to be involved in marketing, unit design and quality control.

Trump Las Olas Beachfront: Announced in 2006, this Fort Lauderdale project at 550 Seabreeze Blvd. has not been built.

Plans called for a 12-story tower with 95 units ranging in price from $500,000 to $3 million. Developers had hoped to break ground in late 2006, but they lost momentum as the real estate market overheated.

Trump International Hotel & Tower on Fort Lauderdale beach: The 298-unit condo-hotel at 551 N. Fort Lauderdale Blvd. is nearly finished but not open. The developer had told condo buyers they would open by late 2008.

The new mortgage holder filed for foreclosure March 11 on a $139 million loan to developer SB Hotel Associates.

Many buyers who put 20 percent deposits on condos have sued, seeking refunds and in some cases, damages for delays in closing. Some buyers also allege misleading advertising and fraud, contending they paid a premium for the Trump name and now find that Trump may not be involved in the project at all.

Trump Grande in Sunny Isles: This 1,034-unit, three-tower complex in north Miami-Dade County is owned by Dezer Properties, which also has developed other ventures in Sunny Isles and in New York.

Trump has a licensing agreement with the Dezer group, developer Gil Dezer said Tuesday.

For condos, the Trump group generally gets involved with design and quality control before construction and receives a percentage of the condo sales price. For condo-hotels, Trump usually gets a sliver of hotel revenue and keeps a close eye on service quality, according to developers active with Trump.

The project features a condo-hotel, the Trump International Beach Resort, a 32-story tower with 372 rooms and suites, a spa, two restaurants, three lounges, a tennis center and 22.000 square feet of space for meetings and banquets, among other amenities. It initially was managed by hotel group Sonesta, but in 2008, switched to the International Resorts Management Group.

The complex also features the Trump Palace, a 55-story tower with 278 condos that opened in 2006. Dezer said the Palace was a "textbook condo deal," presold starting in 2003 when the real estate market was in a solid upswing and sold out at its opening.

A second 55-story tower with 384 units known as the Trump Royale missed that upswing. Presold starting in 2005, buyers made deposits on units at prices up to $1,000 a square foot during the boom.

But when it came time to close on units in November 2008, after the market fell, just 35 percent of buyers closed on their condos, Dezer said. In recent months, about 120 units have sold at prices ranging from $500,000 to $3 million. The average price on all Royale sales to date: about $550 a square foot, he said.

Trump Towers Sunny Isles: Another Dezer Properties venture in Sunny Isles, this 813-unit beachfront complex features a trio of 43-story towers, each with 271 condos. The Related Group was involved in construction, but left the venture Dec. 31.

Dezer said the first of the three towers opened in 2008 and has sold out. Tower Two opened in 2009 and is about half-occupied. Tower Three is built, with sales contracts on its units.

"Our big question now is how many of those contracts in Tower Three are going to close?," Dezer said, referring to the tough real estate market in South Florida.

To bear Trump's name, Dezer said, condo documents specify the towers keep certain service levels, including valet parking. He said the Trump name helps his group sell condos faster than other developers might, even with identical apartments.


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