Trump Hollywood may struggle in sleepy beach town

Aug.August 24, 2009 11:14 AM

Trump Hollywood officially opened its doors on Friday with all the fanfare that usually accompanies a grand opening bearing the Donald’s surname.

Developed by the Related Group, the $355 million, 40-story luxury tower faces the Atlantic Ocean with a glass facade, beachfront pool deck, library, private dining room, club room, screening room and a list of other amenities.

Related Group CEO Jorge Perez and Donald Trump Jr. were on hand to host a luncheon and tour of the property, which includes a 4,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, yoga studio and treatment rooms, a wine cellar, cigar room and sunrise bistro. 

It was not an event that reflected tough times. The grand lobby was the site of a five-star meal. After lunch, guests were treated to mini-massages and antioxidant shots in the spa before heading to the wine cellar for a tasting. The tour ended with a preview of the 3,000-square-foot, $2.4 million model residence.

“Trump always does grand opening and publicity to the max. So this type of extravagant event is not surprising,” said Jack McCabe, principal of McCabe Research & Consulting in Deerfield Beach. “Trump holds the grandest of grand openings to attract the high-dollar potential investors and buyers.”

Trump Hollywood has 200 units ranging in price from $1.3 to $7 million, accessible by private elevator. Floor plans include 2- and 3-bedroom layouts and “sky residences” with up to five bedrooms and six and a half baths. The question is, will anyone pay that much to live on Hollywood Beach?

Hollywood is a quiet town of less than 140,000. Before the Westin built its Diplomat Resort & Spa there, Hollywood Beach was known as a retirement village. The Diplomat spurred some activity, but Hollywood still lacks the restaurant and retail buzz of an upscale Bal Harbour, Aventura or Miami Beach.

As McCabe sees it, Hollywood is still at the beginning of a renaissance, and multimillion-dollar condo units seem out of place on a strip of beach characterized by aged condo conversions, apartments and motels. Even though Westin is building the Diplomat Residences a stone’s throw away, these two properties are the exception rather than the rule in a city that attracts Canadian tourists in the winter.

“Trump has always claimed adding his name to a project through a licensing fee or an equity partnership…added 20 to 50 percent more value,” McCabe said. “Yet we have five projects with Trump’s name on them in South Florida right now. You could make the case that market conditions have affected all of them just like other developments. With these prices in this market, there are no guarantees for Trump Hollywood’s success.” 

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