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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

Inside gaming column: What, him worry? Not Trump

23 June 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Finalizing the sale of more than 250 condominium units on the Strip since April would seem sufficient, especially during these daunting economic times.

When the condos are inside Donald Trump's $1.2 billion Trump International Hotel & Tower and carry prices between $700,000 and $5 million, there's a higher level of scrutiny attached.

Trump, the opinionated billionaire developer, crowed over how quickly units were being sold at his noncasino Las Vegas venture. Before the building was topped off a year ago, Trump said all the units had been reserved. Buyers plunked down 20 percent nonrefundable deposits for the 64-story tower's studios, one-bedrooms and penthouses.

This week, Trump continued to paint a positive picture despite having closed sales on only roughly 20 percent of the building. Banks, he said, are not as quick these days to loan money for high-rise condo purchases.

"Some of my buyers are richer than the banks," Trump said from his New York offices. "We're working with people and I think we're doing pretty well. Listen, we only started closings a short time ago. It's a much more complicated process today."

The major issue facing Trump is that a unit can't be placed into the hotel's reservation system until it is sold. Trump bookings start at $349 per night, some of the highest rates on the Strip. The nonsmoking luxury resort received a glowing review recently from the Los Angeles Times and Trump gets letters daily from satisfied customers.

Until more units are added the Trump International operates as a boutique hotel.

"This is a wonderful property," Trump said of the tower, which is wrapped in 24-karat gold glass and has a lobby decorated with ornate chandeliers, gold-accented features and Italian marble.

"People love the building. I love the building," he added. "Everyone, including Las Vegas, is going through a tough time, however. We'll be fine."

***

In May, Trump agreed to sell one of his three Atlantic City casinos for $316 million. But he isn't ready to give up on the Boardwalk, where he has owned casinos since the 1980s. Trump said he would part with either the Trump Plaza or Trump Taj Mahal, however, for the right price.

Trump owns 28 percent of the publicly traded Trump Entertainment Resorts, his casino holding company. He is the chairman but does not exercise daily control.

***

Station Casinos, with the help of Grucci, is planning a valleywide Fourth of July fireworks spectacular.

At 9:30 p.m., fireworks will erupt simultaneously from the rooftops of Red Rock Resort, Green Valley Ranch Resort, Texas Station, Santa Fe Station and Sunset Station, creating a nine-minute aerial display.

Inside gaming column: What, him worry? Not Trump is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.