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StarBulletin.com

Trump's son says name to stay on Waikiki tower


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POSTED: Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Donald J. Trump Jr. affirms that the family's brand name will remain on the Trump International Hotel and Tower Waikiki Beach Walk.

“;We are very excited about the building,”; said Trump Jr., 31, an executive vice president who oversees the Trump Organization's property portfolio, along with siblings Ivanka and Eric Trump. “;The name will stay in place as long as the license is in place, which we hope will be a long time, if not forever.”;

Trump is scheduled to give a media briefing in Waikiki this afternoon as well as to meet with buyers.

The 38-story tower — marketed as an “;ultra-luxury hotel condominium”; — offers 462 units and is available for room reservations starting Nov. 16.

Los Angeles developer Irongate is building the project, and sold out all the units for more than $700 million in a single day in 2006.

Since July the Waikiki tower has been at the center of controversy due to a suit against Irongate brought by more than a dozen buyers who say they were not provided with full disclosure of the terms of the Trump license agreement before signing sales contracts.

In a countersuit, Irongate alleged that it was a case of buyer's remorse from a small group of individuals who were not financially qualified to buy units at the tower.

Trump declined to comment on specifics of the lawsuit but said it will have no impact on the project's license agreement. He said the Waikiki tower lives up to the Trump brand name.

; “;It's an incredible building,”; he told the Star-Bulletin by phone. “;It's got the best location anywhere in Waikiki. Certainly nothing has this level of amenities or opulence in the market.”;

Due to zoning, Trump said, views will be locked in permanently, and are available from virtually every unit.

The license terms for the Waikiki property were standard, he said, adding that to his knowledge the name has never been pulled from a project that has closed on its units, particularly when a management team is already in place.

“;If people wanted to turn the building into a roach motel and not maintain the same standard that everyone bought into, clearly it would be an issue for us, as it would be for the Ritz-Carlton or Four Seasons,”; he said.

In Baja California, Trump pulled its name from the project because it was never built, he said.

Trump called Waikiki an incredible urban resort destination and an underserved market from a high-end perspective. He said he believes the value will hold in the next few years.

“;Waikiki has held up on a relative basis much better than other markets around the country,”; he said.

The Trump Hotel Collection portfolio includes three completed in Chicago, New York and Las Vegas, with more under development in New York's SoHo district, Toronto, Panama and Dubai.

A 24-story project in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that has a Trump license agreement is also embroiled in lawsuits.

The corporation uses the licensing model to develop hotels in markets it is not as familiar with, according to Trump, opting instead to lend its brand as long as standards are met.

“;We don't have the hubris to assume that if we can build in New York, we can build anywhere,”; he said.

The Trump Corp. is open to other development opportunities in Hawaii, possibly a golf club on a neighbor isle.

And yes, says Trump, he will stay in the hotel next time he visits Honolulu.

“;I think this will be the best hotel in all of Waikiki, therefore I will be staying there,”; he said.