Trump Plaza (West Palm Beach)

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Trump Plaza
Former names The Plaza
Alternative names Trump Plaza of the Palm Beaches
General information
Status Complete
Type Condominiums
Address 525 South Flagler Drive[1]
Town or city West Palm Beach, Florida
Country United States
Coordinates 26°42′30″N 80°03′05″W / 26.708233°N 80.051355°W / 26.708233; -80.051355Coordinates: 26°42′30″N 80°03′05″W / 26.708233°N 80.051355°W / 26.708233; -80.051355
Named for Donald Trump
Construction started 1981
Topped-out November 1984 (second tower)
Opened October 1985
Renovated 1986
Technical details
Floor count 32
Design and construction
Architecture firm Schwab & Twitty Architects Inc.
Developer Armour Guider Development Corporation
Main contractor Perini Corporation (1982-1984)
F. Benson & Co. Inc.
Other information
Number of units 221[2]

Trump Plaza, also known as Trump Plaza of the Palm Beaches,[3][4] is a twin-tower condominium property located along the Intracoastal Waterway in West Palm Beach, Florida. The property was developed by Robert Armour and Michael Guider through their company, Armour Guider Development Corporation. Construction of the project, originally known as The Plaza, began in 1981. After several construction delays, The Plaza opened in October 1985, although Robert Armour had only minimal success in selling the condominium units.

In 1986, the property was foreclosed and then sold to businessman Donald Trump, who renovated and renamed it as Trump Plaza later that year. Trump intended to sell the property's remaining 120 units within a year and a half. Although sales increased because of the Trump name, 50 percent of the units remained unsold as of 1990. The remaining units were auctioned.


Early history

In 1974,[5] Robert Armour purchased property at 525 South Flagler Drive[5] in West Palm Beach, Florida. On the property, Armour opened The Greenhouse, a tropical-themed restaurant that became popular among businesspeople, celebrities, attorneys, and judges. Although Armour supervised the restaurant's creation and operation, he planned to ultimately build a high-rise residential tower on the property,[6] which was located along the Intracoastal Waterway.[7][3]

In 1980, Armour was planning the Flagler Plaza, a residential property consisting of two 32-story towers, to be built on 3.4 acres (1.4 ha). The project was expected to take two years to complete, and would be built on the site of The Greenhouse. Two other businesses owned by Armour, the Fish Thing restaurant and the Lodge on the Lake, would also be demolished to make room for the new project.[8]

By 1981, the project – now known as The Plaza – had received financing from The Bank of New York. The project was to include 4,600 sq ft (430 m2) of retail space, 5,000 sq ft (460 m2) of office space, and a 6,000 sq ft (560 m2) restaurant and lounge. Construction was scheduled to begin in summer 1981, with completion by early 1983.[5] The project, designed by Schwab & Twitty Architects Inc.,[9] would be developed through Armour Guider Development Corporation, a joint venture between Robert Armour and Michael Guider.[5] The Plaza would be the tallest building to be constructed along the Intracoastal Waterway,[7] and would also be the largest development project in the city's history.[10]

Construction and opening

On October 1, 1981, Perini Corporation was named as the general contractor for the $60 million project, with construction expected to begin a few weeks later.[11] Demolition of The Greenhouse began in May 1982, to make room for The Plaza. Armour was surprised at how successful the restaurant had become during its operation.[6] In September 1983, Schwab & Twitty Architects Inc. stopped working on the project and alleged a lack of $60,000 in payments for the company's previous six months of work. Armour said the lack of payments was the result of a mix-up involving The Bank of New York, which was expected to pay the company soon thereafter.[9]

In October 1983, The Plaza was behind in sales, having only sold 18 units in the previous 18 months, and a total of 74 units since the project began. A total of 153 units had initially been expected to be sold by a real estate brokerage firm by June 1, 1983.[9] An early slogan for The Plaza during its construction was: "The only address in Florida that gives you a reason to look down on Palm Beach."[1][12] The slogan was meant to emphasize the property's location, in West Palm Beach rather than in Palm Beach, which was located across the Intracoastal Waterway.[13]

By January 1984, The Bank of New York had stopped funding the project because of poor sales, thus delaying construction of the first 32-story tower.[12][14] That month, Armour was in negotiations with an investment firm that would help finance the project and act as project manager, allowing the first tower to be completed in approximately four months. The deal would also allow construction of the delayed second tower to begin in two months.[12] In April 1984, after Armour spent several months devising a financial solution, The Bank of New York provided an $81 million loan to the project. Construction began again on April 30, 1984, with F. Benson & Co. Inc. as the new general contractor; Armour stated that, "Perini and we were unable to work out a mutually satisfactory agreement on terms." The first tower was expected to be completed in approximately six months, while the second tower would be completed by fall 1985.[14]

Construction on the second tower progressed at a rate of one new floor every three days. The second tower was topped off in November 1984.[15] Construction of the project was nearing completion in March 1985.[16] The Plaza opened in October 1985,[17] although Armour was only able to sell approximately six units in the property.[3] The Bank of New York foreclosed on The Plaza in January 1986, as Armour Development owed the bank nearly $94 million in loans and interest.[18]

Trump Plaza

At the end of March 1986, businessman Donald Trump and Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca toured the property as prospective buyers.[19] The Bank of New York subsequently purchased the property for $43.2 million at a public auction in July 1986, to obtain the title to the land so it could be sold to a developer. The Plaza became the most expensive property ever sold at a public auction in Palm Beach County, Florida.[20][18] With a $60 million loan from Marine Midland Bank,[21] Trump purchased the property later that month for approximately $40 million, resulting in a loss of more than $50 million for The Bank of New York. Trump planned to rename the building as Trump Plaza, with Iacocca as his partner in the property;[18] Iacocca also purchased a Plaza penthouse.[22][3] Real estate analysts believed that the building would sell better with the Trump name.[18]

At the time of the purchase, The Plaza contained 224 condominium units, priced between $275,000 and $960,000.[18] Although the condominium units were considered by local real estate analysts to be overpriced, Trump planned to raise prices by 15 to 20 percent within a few months after the building's grand opening, which was planned for November 1986. Trump, who planned to sell more than 200 remaining condominium units in the building within a year and a half, intended to add new apartment models, furnished apartments, a restaurant, and a hair salon.[22] Part of Marine Midland Bank's $60 million loan was used to renovate the property.[21] Condominium sales improved after Trump's renaming of the building.[3]

In May 1988, there were plans to open a 2,000 sq ft (190 m2) store known as Selections, which would be located on the first floor of the property and would offer various amenities to residents. At the time, nearly 50 percent of the condominium units had been sold, with prices between $300,000 and $500,000. A penthouse was offered at a price of $1.8 million.[23] Less than 10 units were sold in 1989.[21] As of April 1990, occupancy was still at 50 percent, while a planned restaurant and upscale shops had failed to materialize.[1] Notable residents at that time included Eleanor Weinstock, a state senator;[1][21] and Kylene Barker, Miss America 1979.[1]


In September 1990, planning for an auction of the remaining 120 units was underway,[21][24][25] as part of an agreement between Trump and Marine Midland Bank from the previous month.[26] No units had been sold that year up to that point.[21][24][25] Trump had until September 30, 1991 to sell the remaining units.[27] Low sales in the property were attributed to a poor location, in West Palm Beach rather than Palm Beach.[13][24][28] Pricing for the units was also considered too high.[25] The auctioning of 45 units occurred on December 16, 1990.[13] An estimated $8.8 million profit for The Trump Organization was generated from the auction, during which 35 units were sold at prices ranging between $185,000 and $265,000, which was half of their original sale price.[2]

Another auction, with 70 units, was set for April 28, 1991.[2] Trump said the property was an "all-right" investment, and, "I'm doing the auction because I want to sell the units quickly rather than over the period of the next year."[29] A total of 63 units were ultimately put up for sale at the auction. Each of the units sold, for a combined total of $15.8 million.[28] Trump and Marine Midland Bank had agreed to split the profits.[30] Trump said about the building and the auction: "It's built to be sold. I'm de-leveraging. Things are working out well for me. The press doesn't like to write that."[31] Actress Deborah Raffin purchased a three-bedroom unit for $210,000 during the auction,[31] while a penthouse sold for $700,000 to Morry Weiss, the president of American Greetings.[28][31]

Later years

The five-foot-high letters spelling out the Trump Plaza name atop the buildings were removed beginning in 1993, for maintenance. After suspicions of a permanent removal of the name, residents voted 95 to 74 to restore the lettering. Trump then volunteered to pay for the cost of having the signs restored.[32]

In December 2015, residents began a petition to change the name of the property back to The Plaza. The petition was started after Trump, during his U.S. presidential campaign, called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, although it was unclear if that was the reason for the petition.[4] Later that month, the five-member condominium board of directors rejected the petition, which was believed to have been organized by three residents. The board released a statement reading: "Within the continental United States there are dozens of high-rise office towers and residential condominiums with the Trump name. They all command prices and rentals per square foot that are 10 to 20 percent higher than similar properties in their respective markets. Let's not allow politics to enter our very comfortable lives here at Trump Plaza. Your board of directors unanimously opposes any name change for Trump Plaza."[33]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Doup, Liz (June 26, 1990). "Trumped Up?". Sun-Sentinel. pp. 1–2. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Kolody, Tracy (March 22, 1991). "Trump Plaza Auction Set For April 28". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e Kolody, Tracy (December 26, 1988). "Trump Plaza Towers Over Other Condos In Luxury Market". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Donald Trump Plaza Residents in West Palm Beach Want Moniker Stripped: Report". Newsmax. December 15, 2015. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d Hoffer, Glenn (February 28, 1981). "The changing face of West Palm Beach". Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "'The Greenhouse' being demolished for new complex". Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. May 1, 1982. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "The Plaza obtains construction financing". Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. August 22, 1981. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  8. ^ Cooke, Pete (June 24, 1980). "Lakefront Project Approved". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c Sanes, Ken (October 8, 1983). "Designers Halt Work at Tower In Dispute Over Unpaid Fees". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  10. ^ "Driskill Named". The Palm Beach Post. October 16, 1981. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  11. ^ Rollins, Bob (October 1, 1981). "Illegal Activities Help Stabilize South Florida Economy: Business bits and briefs". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  12. ^ a b c Sanes, Ken (January 27, 1984). "Developer Says Disputed Condo Has New Backer". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  13. ^ a b c Nease, Jack (December 16, 1990). "Trump Fire Sale Offers Cool Deals". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Sanes, Ken (May 3, 1984). "Loan Ends Financial Trouble: WPB Plaza Gets $81 Million Boost". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  15. ^ "The Plaza condo sets topping off". Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. November 24, 1984. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  16. ^ Tusa, Rosa (March 14, 1985). "Developer Breaks In Model Kitchen". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  17. ^ Glabman, Maureen (October 6, 1986). "Beber Silverstein Lands Account For Trump Plaza Condo Towers". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  18. ^ a b c d e Pounds, Marcia H. (July 22, 1986). "Trump Buys Plaza Condos". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  19. ^ Van de Water, Ava; McClinchy, Bill (May 7, 1986). "Iacocca, Trump Negotiating To Buy Condominium". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  20. ^ Pounds, Marcia H. (July 15, 1986). "Plaza Sells for $43.2 Million". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  21. ^ a b c d e f Kolody, Tracy (September 9, 1990). "Trump Troubles Hit S. Florida Developer's Latest Chapter Deals With Mar-a-lago, Condo Project". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  22. ^ a b Pounds, Marcia (October 20, 1986). "Plaza Plans To Trump Other Condos". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  23. ^ Pounds, Marcia H. (May 10, 1988). "Pampered Plaza Store Will Cater To The Select Few In Trump's Tower". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  24. ^ a b c Nease, Jack (September 12, 1990). "It's Time For Trump To Share The Hearth". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  25. ^ a b c Fleischer, Joan (September 13, 1990). "Auctioneer In Running To Aid Trump". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  26. ^ Fleischer, Joan (October 27, 1990). "Debt Load Motivates Trump: Deal Maker Is Now On The Selling End". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  27. ^ "Trump forced to auction 45 condos". United Press International. November 4, 1990. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  28. ^ a b c Barron, James (April 29, 1991). "63 Trump Condos: the Art of the Bargain". The New York Times. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  29. ^ Caughron, Chele (March 24, 1991). "Trump To Auction Condos: 70 Units Up For Bid At Trump Plaza". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  30. ^ "Trump Auctions Waterfront Condos in Florida". The Washington Post. May 4, 1991. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  31. ^ a b c Liewer, Steve (April 29, 1991). "Investors Snatch 63 Trump Condos". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  32. ^ Fins, Antonio (February 3, 2017). "Trump in Palm Beach: A 30-year timeline". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  33. ^ Johnson, Richard (December 24, 2015). "Trump Plaza in West Palm Beach to keep its name". Page Six. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
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