Via Krystal T’s Flickr
Following back-to-back fatal fires in 1998 at two New York City buildings that lacked working sprinklers, public officials advocated for new regulations requiring sprinklers in all buildings. Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s administration that year pushed for legislation to address the lack of sprinklers in high-rise towers. But real estate developers, including President Donald Trump, fought against the proposals, citing the high expense of retrofitting existing buildings with them, as the Washington Post reported.
After fierce lobbying from developers, including Trump who personally called a dozen council members, the city enacted a law in 1999 that would require sprinklers in new construction but not existing buildings, exempting the president’s Trump Tower. On Saturday, a fire ripped through a 50th-floor apartment at Trump Tower, killing a 67-year-old art dealer. Sprinklers were never installed at the Fifth Avenue property.
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Google Street View of 666 Fifth Avenue
Update 4/9/18: Vornado announced on Friday that it reached a “handshake” deal to sell its stake at 666 Fifth Avenue back to the Kushner Cos, according to the New York Times. It remains unclear if the Kushners have found a new partner. Steven Roth, chairman of Vornado, in the filing, said the payment would cover the company’s investment: “The existing loan will be repaid including payment to us of the portion of the debt we hold.”
Kushner Cos. said this week it is in talks to buy the remaining 49.5 percent stake in 666 Fifth Avenue from Vornado Realty Trust, furthering the drama at the 41-story Midtown Manhattan office building, according to the Wall Street Journal. The tower has remained one of Kushner Cos. most financially troubled projects. In addition to its debt and high rates of vacancy, the building has been mired in controversy, mostly due to Jared Kushner’s role as a senior adviser and son-in-law to President Donald Trump. While Jared divested in the property to avoid conflicts of interest, investors have been reluctant from entering a deal with Kushner Cos.
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It looks like it’s not just owners within Trump-branded condo buildings who are struggling to sell their homes, but the owners of individual homes with connections to the President, too. In 1998, financier Robert Steinberg and his wife Suzanne paid $15 million for this 5.8-acre Greenwich, Connecticut estate on its own peninsula. It was previously owned by a then-Democratic Donald Trump and his wife Ivana, but when they divorced in 1991, she kept the mansion. Likely not realizing what was yet to come, the Steinbergs first listed the home in early January 2016 for $54 million, dropping the price to $45 million in May. But according to the Wall Street Journal, when Trump’s campaign “started heating up,” they took the listing down. Although the fire has only grown, they’ve now decided to try again.
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Trump Parc Stamford via F.D. Rich Company
Stamford might be joining the ranks of Soho, the Upper West Side, Toronto, Queens and Panama. Some residents of the Trump Parc condominium in Connecticut want to remove President Donald Trump’s name from their building and with new officers on its board, a vote for a name-change might be around the corner. According to the Stamford Advocate: “Some owners, in recent interviews, said a vote on the Trump name is now more likely as property values continue to decline and some owners and realtors say the name drags down prices.”
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One of the original statues on display in San Francisco via torbakhopper’s Flickr
Fake news is always surrounding President Donald Trump and so is Stormy Daniels. Put those two together (fake & naked) and you’ve got the most recent news: an auction house based in California is selling a fake “Naked Trump” statue, unbeknownst to them. Reports out today claim one of the five original “Naked Trump” statues is going up for auction on May 2 at Julien’s Auctions at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City. But a representative from INDECLINE, the West Coast “Activist Art Collective” that created the artwork, adamantly denies that this is an original.
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The path for a future Hudson River tunnel is being preserved at Hudson Yards, photo via Amtrak
Update 3/26/18: While Congress on Thursday approved the $1.3 trillion spending bill, the package does not include direct funding for the Gateway tunnel project. Instead, the bill provides $650 million for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and allocates over $2 billion in available grants for which the Gateway Program Development Corp. can apply. President Donald Trump, who threatened to veto the spending bill if funding for Gateway was included, and his administration will remain in control of Gateway’s funding fate. The Department of Transportation (DOT) said in a statement that the bill “removes preferential treatment for the New York and New Jersey Gateway projects.” And DOT board members, appointed by the president, review all federal grants to Amtrak, as Bloomberg reported.
After months of back-and-forth negotiations among politicians, the Gateway tunnel project might get another chance at survival. The project, which would construct a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River and repair an existing one, could potentially receive up to $541 million in a tentative $1.3 trillion spending bill drafted by Congress on Wednesday, according to the New York Times. Although the bill does not mention Gateway by name, provides way less than the $900 million planners sought for the project, and has been opposed by both President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan, the tentative spending bill has made supporters more hopeful about the project’s future. The bill will go to a vote in the House on Thursday, followed by the Senate.
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Tunnel photo via The Gateway Program Development Corporation; Paul Ryan photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr
Amtrak and New Jersey Transit’s Northeast Corridor–that which connects the state to Manhattan via the Hudson River tunnels–creates more than $50 billion in economic activity annually. And the region as a whole is home to 30 percent of all U.S. jobs, amounting to $3 trillion a year for the economy. But despite Donald Trump’s eagerness to both stimulate the economy and bring jobs back from overseas, he seems unphased by the dire need to construct a new rail tunnel to replace those built in 1910 that suffered major damage during Hurricane Sandy. According to Politico, in a meeting yesterday with New York and New Jersey Republicans, Speaker Paul Ryan made it clear that he will not include the $30 billion Gateway Tunnel project in the upcoming $1 trillion+ omnibus spending package if it means Trump will veto the bill, claiming that the President can’t stop talking about his opposition to what’s largely considered the most important infrastructure project in the nation.
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Trump International via Wiki Commons; Donald Trump via Gage Skidmore/Flickr
According to a new CityRealty report, President Trump is spreading fake news. Trump claims his branded luxury residential condominium and towers are more valuable than his competitors. In fact, the numbers tell a different story. In the past 10 years (2007-2017), Trumps’ properties’ average price per square foot has only risen 15% (from $1,529 to $1,741) compared to Manhattan luxury condominiums which have risen 56% (from $1,994 to $3,105) and all Manhattan properties which have risen 51% (from $1,237 to $1,864).
What might be even more upsetting to the Trump Organization is that based on the prices condos in his buildings sell for, they are no longer categorized as luxury properties but as “middle-of-the-road investments in the wider world of the Manhattan condo market.”
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Photo via The Gateway Program Development Corporation
President Donald Trump on Monday released his $200 billion infrastructure plan and it does not look good for New York and New Jersey. Because the plan shifts the financial burden from the federal government onto states and localities, relying on incentives to spur private investment, major projects will struggle to find funding. This includes the Gateway Tunnel project, a proposal to construct a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River and repair the existing one. As the only intercity passenger rail crossing into NYC from NJ, the tunnel is a critical link for nearly 200,000 daily passengers. While the Obama administration considered Gateway a priority and committed half of the project’s cost in 2015, the Trump administration has scoffed at the idea.
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Photo of Scaramucci via the World Economic Forum’s Flickr
Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House communications director who President Donald Trump fired before he even started his job, might be having more luck in real estate than in politics. The Mooch and his wife, Deidre Ball, have snagged a mansion in Bridgehampton South for $7.495 million, according to the New York Post. The newly built home at 30 Lawrence Court boasts eight bedrooms, seven and a half baths and a swimming pool.
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