With Trump Plaza Residences showcased on HGTV show, Donald Trump Jr. dishes to TRD

By Yaffi Spodek | July 20, 2010 02:30PM

25 episode of HGTV’s “Design Star,” showcasing model apartments in the
Trump Plaza Residences (at right) in Jersey City. (photo credit: HGTV
Design Star)

This Sunday’s episode of HGTV’s realty reality
show “Design Star” will feature Donald Trump Jr. as a guest judge, as
contestants compete to decorate two model apartments in the Trump Plaza Residences in Jersey City.

On the upcoming episode, the remaining seven contestants are divided
into two teams for the task. Each was given a finished model apartment
and challenged to design and decorate it over the course of a few days,
using a budget of $25,000. The twist was that each group also had to
incorporate some New York City memorabilia — for example, the Statue
of Liberty, a yellow taxi cab or something from Times Square — into
their finished designs.

“I saw a lot of diversity,” Trump told The Real Deal.
“The creativity went beyond just designing an apartment because the
contestants had to create the artwork to suit the apartment they were

Both two-bedroom, two-bathroom model apartments showcased in the show
are on the 32nd floor of the tower. Unit 3204 is 1,182 square feet and
has an asking price of $677,000. Unit 3206 is 1,302 square feet and is
priced at $689,000.

The 55-story, 443-unit property, at 88 Morgan Street between Washington
and Green streets, is the tallest residential tower in Jersey City.

“It was really interesting to see the crew at work, doing tasks that
were similar to the ones the contestants did on ‘The Apprentice,'”
Trump added, referencing his father’s hit reality show which pitted
aspiring entrepreneurs against each other to win a job working for the
Trump Organization.

Only one of the finished products met Trump’s approval, but he wouldn’t say which one before the Sunday airing.

“There were two rather conflicting apartments,” he said. “Some were a
little bit of a disaster and were not what the other judges and I were
looking for. I saw a lot of flaws in the execution and how the final
product was presented.”

He described some of the interior designs as being “too risqué” and “fashion-forward” in terms of their color schemes.

“My father, he’ll notice these little things that most people don’t
catch,” Trump warns in a trailer clip which aired at the end of last
Sunday’s episode, alluding to his father’s meticulous attention to
detail in the design of his properties.

Trump joined “Design Star” judges Genevieve Gorder, Candice Olson and
Vern Yip for the taping of this Sunday’s episode. But despite his
criticisms, he was impressed with some aspects of the finished

“Given the timeframes, a couple of ideas played out well,” he said.

Trump said he is hopeful about the potential that the show — whose
ultimate winner is rewarded with his or her own HGTV series — has for
encouraging sales at Trump Plaza Residences.

“The demographic of the people watching the show could be potential
buyers, and the show highlights the amenities of the building, its
views, and its proximity to city,” he said. “It was great that the
show’s producers wanted to use the Jersey City project as an example of
a model luxury building.”

Construction on the building began in 2006 and was completed in April
2008. Sales started in the summer of 2006 and the first closing was in
April 2008. To date, over half of the tower’s 443 units have been sold
and closed, according to the Trump Organization. The building was
designed by celebrity interior designer Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz of
Manhattan-based BNOdesign. Building amenities include a heated outdoor
rooftop pool, an in-house spa, an indoor and outdoor children’s
playground, a screening room and a billiards and game room.

The one-, two- and three-bedroom residences in the tower top out at
1,559 square feet with prices ranging from the mid-$400,000s to the
mid-$600,000s, averaging about $600 per square foot, Trump said.