The champagne was in full-flow last night at the launch party for Trump International Realty, the new luxury residential brokerage headed by the Trump family.
Real estate pros gathered in droves in the pink and white-veined marble lobby of Trump Tower at 725 Fifth Avenue at around 6 p.m. to hear Donald Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, take to a podium to announce the firm’s arrival in the competitive arena of New York City brokerage. While the Trumps already had their own in-house leasing team for their own buildings, Trump Sales & Leasing, the firm will now work in non-Trump buildings all over the city representing high-end sales and rentals.
Brokers from competing firms such as Prudential Douglas Elliman and Warburg Realty were in attendance. The Real Deal spotted Elliman’s Fredrik Eklund and John Gomes as well as Michael Lorber, son of Elliman chairman, Howard Lorber, and Douglas Elliman Worldwide President Neal Sroka working the room. Richard Steinberg of Warburg Realty also mingled with other guests.
Lorber said he saw Trump’s new firm as bringing some “healthy competition” into the marketplace. The Lorbers and the Trumps are longtime friends. Howard Lorber reportedly plays golf regularly with the Donald, and Michael Lorber was an intern for the Trump Organization while in law school. Michael told The Real Deal his first apartment out of college was at 725 Fifth Avenue.
Taking the stage, Donald Trump told the crowd with typical bluster: “Everyone involved [in this venture] is going to make money. I don’t think with the people we’ve assembled that anyone can compete with what we’re doing.”
Asked how TIR would fit into the already busy landscape of firms competing for listings, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. told The Real Deal the firm would succeed because of its “niche” client base and the power of the Trump brand internationally.
As previously reported, Trump’s exclusive listings currently include a two-bedroom at the Hampshire House at 150 Central Park South listed at $8.5 million and a $75,000 rental at 240 Riverside Boulevard. At the helm of the company are Kathy Kaye, the senior vice president of sales at the Trump Organization, and Kevin Sneddon, senior vice president and managing director of the New York operations.
Taking the podium as the event came to a close, Sneddon jokingly quoted Donald Trump’s take on his hiring: “‘You just landed the best job in real estate. Do a great job, or you’ll be fired.'”