That pledge worked. Jones Lang LaSalle broker Dan Suozzi, who had lunch with Mr. Lichtenberg and his team at Bobby Van’s during that recruitment period, estimates he has brought four tenants to 40 Wall Street in the past two and a half years, the most recent being John Carris Investments for roughly 13,000 square feet. (Former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine was rumored to be subleasing space from John Carris.)
“Don Jr. was a pleasure to work with and he does the right thing and is very personable,” said Mr. Suozzi. “It makes a difference when you’re bringing a tenant through the building.”
Once they had the ears of intrigued brokers, Mr. Trump and his team focused on redefining 40 Wall Street’s image as a financial services asset. “With the Wall Street address 10 years ago, it was all financial industry,” said Mr. Trump. “Today, in the digital age, the street location is less critical.”
Mr. Trump also honed in on what his family’s building could offer that his competitors couldn’t. He targeted a crowd that didn’t fit the traditional mold of a Wall Street tenant, selling them on 40 Wall Street’s “impeccable” management services and attractive deal incentives. The Trump Organization has a “fungible” balance sheet that enabled it to offer value propositions, he added.
Wall Street address aside, 40 Wall Street had the charm of a Midtown South building with Midtown South amenities. It had recently renovated tons of turn-key space, and it had a Duane Reade megastore, the first of its kind that, with its sushi bar and a hair salon, could give the average customer a new ’do with her bottle of Kaopectate.
“With the Condé [Nast] deal and with everything that is going on downtown, I think it’s an opportunity for buildings to have boutique space they can do something with and offer that value proposition to tenants that are going to be the guys who are going to feed off those megadeals,” said Mr. Trump.
The offer worked. Midtown mainstays like the Harry Fox Agency and Duane Reade committed to the building for substantial office space, each with square footages in the five figures. Wiedlinger Associates and Leslie E. Robertson Associates also moved into the building.
“I had never done a deal with the Trumps in my 18-year career,” said Greg Taubin, a senior managing director at Studley who represented the Harry Fox Agency in its 47,144-square-foot sublease on the fifth floor. “You would always hear different things about having to deal with the organization, but those days are over. The reason is because of Donny Jr. getting involved and making decisions.”
Now faced with tenable vacancies in the base of the building, nearing a total of 100,000 square feet, Mr. Trump is enjoying his time at 40 Wall Street while also working on the development of Trump International Golf Links in Scotland.
“What makes my job interesting is that on any given day I can work on something that’s totally different,” he said. “It keeps things very interesting and fluid.”