Trump-Branded New York Building Looks to Remove President’s Name
(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump’s name is emblazoned on buildings across Manhattan, usually spelled out in large gold lettering. Residents at one of those buildings would like to change that.
A group of owners at Trump Palace has met to discuss removing the former president’s name from the hulking condominium tower on the Upper East Side, according to one resident, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. The building manager is now looking into the possibility of doing just that, said Michael Schoeman, who lives in the tower.
They wouldn’t be the first to go that route. Trump SoHo, for example, rebranded as the Dominick in 2017. After Trump was elected, a handful of buildings on the Upper West Side took down the large “Trump Place” signs that hung over their entrances. Trump Plaza, a co-op eight blocks south of Trump Palace, has long considered doing the same.
Adam Leitman Bailey, a New York real estate attorney, said he was contacted by residents at Trump Plaza, among others, soon after Trump’s 2016 presidential bid to see about stripping his name from the building.
“I have received calls from every building with Trump on it in the city trying to get it removed,” Bailey said. “Over time in New York, Donald Trump has not been very popular and New York is about money, so having Trump’s name on the building reduces its value.”
A spokesperson for the Trump Organization didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Numerous businesses have been reassessing their association with Trump since the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol that left five dead and erupted after the former president urged his supporters to converge on Washington. Over the past two weeks, Trump has been abandoned by lenders including Deutsche Bank AG and Signature Bank, as well as by the PGA of America, which canceled a golf tournament scheduled for next year at a New Jersey course he owns. He’s also been booted off social media, his preferred method of communication with millions of followers.
Now, some unit owners fear that having Trump’s name on their building could harm the value of their investment.
“They don’t want to, by association, be seen as being near a modern-day pariah,” said branding expert Eric Schiffer. “That’s a danger to any economic venture, let alone customers or clients or in this case homeowners or condo owners, seeing their equity being looked at askance by potential buyers.”
That’s just another challenge during an already difficult period for Manhattan property sellers because of the effects of Covid-19. As more and more people move out of the city and into the suburbs, homes are sitting on the market longer.
Lois Miller, 88, has rented a condo in Trump Palace for five years, but said she didn’t realize it was a Trump property until she moved in.
“When I saw it I said, ‘Oh my god,’ I live here?,” Miller said, adding that she’d love for the name to be removed but doubts she’ll have a say since she doesn’t own the apartment. “I’d be very happy if his name wasn’t up there.”
Following the Capitol riots, the city of New York said it planned to cancel contracts with the Trump Organization, claiming his actions ahead of the tumult amounted to criminal activity.
A spokesperson for the Trump Organization at the time called the city’s action “political discrimination,” which it planned to “fight vigorously.”
The Trump Organization manages two ice skating rinks in New York, as well as a carousel in Central Park and a golf course in the Bronx. A petition started in December to have Trump’s name removed from an adopt-a-highway sign on the West Side Highway has so far garnered 1,556 signatures.
But Trump still has many residential and commercial buildings across the city bearing his moniker, including his prized Trump Tower, the Art Deco office building at 40 Wall St. in the Financial District, and Trump World Tower near the United Nations.
Schoeman, the Trump Palace resident who previously lived in Trump Plaza, said he’s not sure what difference it would make if his building succeeds in having the former president’s name removed.
“I really don’t know what they’re trying to accomplish,” Schoeman said. “We’re still going to be paying Trump.”
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