Trump Tower has new leasing broker for failing retail space

Nearly 70Ksf of retail has remained empty since the 98-story tower opened a decade ago

Nov.November 27, 2019 11:05 AM
President Donald Trump, Trump International Hotel & Tower 401 N. Wabash Avenue and Cushman & Wakefield CEO Brett White (Credit: Getty Images, Cushman and Wakefield)

President Donald Trump, Trump International Hotel & Tower 401 N. Wabash Avenue and Cushman & Wakefield CEO Brett White (Credit: Getty Images, Cushman and Wakefield)

After a decade and with just one tenant at its nearly 70,000 square feet of retail space, the Trump International Hotel & Tower has a new leasing brokerage.

Trump Organization has hired Cushman & Wakefield, which will take over for RKF and ARC Real Estate, according to Crain’s.

An investigation by The Real Deal in March found the retail space at the 98-story tower has been mostly vacant since the building opened in 2009.

The building at 401 N. Wabash Ave. has just one retail tenant, a salon that occupies an enclosed 3,400-square-foot suite above the hotel lobby, the TRD investigation found. The deck-level space remains empty, its blank beige walls on full display for the millions of tourists who walk along the Chicago River each year. No part of it has ever been leased, according to Trump Organization tax appeal documents filed in Cook County and analyzed by TRD.

Last year alone, RKF and ARC Real Estate spoke with at least 77 potential tenants without success.

Many retailers and brokers have criticized the space for its design and location. Despite facing the river, the suite offers no direct access to North Michigan Avenue and the otherwise unobstructed view of the river is blocked by giant cement pillars. Additionally, the floor has just 10-foot tall ceilings.

It has cut into the Trump Organization’s annual income for the tower, which President Trump reported in an ethics disclosure tallied $8 million in 2017, the The Real Deal found.

The Trump name has also been a factor in turning away tenants. Since Trump became president, the brand became a polarizing name for businesses, and a previous broker for the tower even left the giant Trump signature sign out of marketing materials, for the building, only referring to the space by its address. [Crain’s] — Jacqueline Flynn

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