Trump's new condo-hotel struggles to find buyers

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The Independent Online

Donald Trump is facing another setback to his property empire, with poor sales of units at his latest Manhattan skyscraper. The Trump SoHo condo-hotel was supposed to mark a move into a younger, trendier area of the property market for the flame-haired billionaire. His children worked on the design, which was launched on his TV show, The Apprentice.

But Mr Trump has found buyers for just one third of the apartments-cum-hotel suites, with less than a fortnight to go before opening. Potential buyers have been put off by price tags starting at $1.2m, in an environment where prices have come down across the city and credit remains almost impossible to get.

The economic downturn has been causing problems across the Trump portfolio for more than two years now, causing legal disputes between Mr Trump and his bankers in Chicago, delays to construction in Dubai and even the foreclosure of a condo-hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Mr Trump does not have any of his estimated $2bn fortune at risk in the SoHo project. He will manage the property and has licensed his name, but it has been financed by others. Bank of America recently sold a $75m loan on the project at a fraction of its face value, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, and developers are now in talks to restructure another $350m of loans.