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 given.”
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 Morgan and Greene 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 products.
“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 start 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.