THE $8 MILLION ROOM: DONALD TRUMP ALMOST LIVED HERE The Donald’s incredible bullshit machine keeps churning up the landscape, spewing forth a plume of chutzpah that might have made even P.T. Barnum a bit queasy. Real estate brokers reported feeling a touch nauseated themselves in mid-February when a new listing sprung up in their computer systems: Penthouse 52A at 1 Central Park West (the former Gulf & Western building Donald Trump reskinned and redubbed Trump International Hotel & Tower). The seller: Donald Trump himself. The price: $17 million. Or $3,059 per square foot.
Apparently, Mr. Trump believes that the apartment he intended for his second family (Marla Maples Trump, Tiffany Trump)-and then put up for rent for a much publicized $100,000 per month, to no takers-is worth twice as much as any other apartment in the building, even those with only one fewer room. All because Donald Trump almost lived there.
Sure, the five-bedroom, 5,541-square-foot condo is the largest in the tower, excluding combined units. But according to published reports from when the conversion was announced in 1996, an apartment of that size would have cost about $8.4 million. And there’s a nine-room apartment, just a few floors below, on the market for $8.3 million. That means the extra room runs you $8 million.
“Not even the Sultan of Brunei would pay that for one room,” said a broker of the price difference from the slightly lower-floor apartment. “The ballroom at the Pierre isn’t worth $8 million.”
Located at the southern end of the building, with 20-foot ceilings, the apartment has views that are very master-of-the-universe, if nothing else. Although it’s called a penthouse, it doesn’t have any outdoor space; none of the apartments do. (“So none of them are penthouses, anyway,” sniffed one broker. “But Donald can call them what he wants.”)
Other apartments with the same view but on lower floors-which have eight rooms instead of 10 and sprawl over a mere 3,662 square feet-have sold for between $3.717 million (unit 42A) and $5.977 million (50A).
“You can see how off the wall it is,” said another broker of Mr. Trump’s offer.
It could actually be argued that Mr. Trump-who’s currently battling Forbes over whether he’s worth $4 billion, as he says, or $1.4 billion, by their reckoning-is just looking for attention on this one, and by pointing it out, The Observer ‘s just being an enabler for Mr. Trump’s delusionary self-promotion. This isn’t the first time this apartment’s been used to further his need for cheap press. A front-page article in the House & Home section of The New York Times on Jan. 8 hyped that the penthouse was available for rent for a saucy-sounding $100,000 a month. Earlier, the family Trump’s impending presence-they’d move in “as soon as possible” was how it was put in this paper at the time-was deployed in the building’s marketing as a value-adding feature for potential tenants. They even put out a press release on it.
Through a spokesman, Mr. Trump declined to comment.