Trump Tower facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsTrump Tower
View from Fifth Avenue
|Retail, office, and residential
|721 Fifth Avenue
Manhattan, New York
|The Trump Organization
|November 30, 1983
|GMAC Commercial Mortgage
|664 ft (202 m)
|Design and construction
|Poor, Swanke, Hayden & Connell
|Number of units
|Number of restaurants
|Number of bars
Trump Tower is a 58-floor, 664-foot-tall (202 m) mixed-use skyscraper at 721–725 Fifth Avenue in the Midtown Manhattan neighborhood of New York City, between 56th and 57th Streets. It serves as the headquarters for the Trump Organization. Additionally, it houses the penthouse condominium residence of businessman, real estate developer, and former U.S. president Donald Trump, who developed the building and named it after himself. Several members of the Trump family also live, or have resided, in the building. The tower stands on a plot where the flagship store of department-store chain Bonwit Teller was formerly located.
Der Scutt of Poor, Swanke, Hayden & Connell designed Trump Tower, and Trump and the Equitable Life Assurance Company (now the AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company) developed it. Although it is in one of Midtown Manhattan's special zoning districts, the tower was approved because it was to be built as a mixed-use development. Trump was permitted to add more stories to the tower in return for additional retail space and for providing privately owned public space on the ground floor, the lower level, and two outdoor terraces. There were controversies during construction, including the destruction of historically important sculptures from the Bonwit Teller store; Trump's alleged underpaying of contractors; and a lawsuit that Trump filed because the tower was not tax-exempt.
Construction on the building began in 1979. The atrium, apartments, offices, and stores opened on a staggered schedule from February to November 1983. At first, there were few tenants willing to move into the commercial and retail spaces; the residential units were sold out within months of opening. After Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and subsequent election, the tower saw large increases in visitation, though security concerns required the area around the tower to be patrolled for several years.
Designed by Der Scutt, Trump Tower was constructed on the site of the former Bonwit Teller flagship store, an architecturally renowned building that was built in 1929. The building was purchased by Trump in 1979, with the intention of building the city's "first super-luxury high-rise". The Trump Organization demolished the store at Fifth Avenue and 56th Street and erected Trump Tower there. HRH Construction was the contractor on the building. Barbara Res, who had worked on some of Trump's other projects and then worked as a consultant for Trump until 1996, was the construction executive. At the time, Res was one of the only women who had been assigned to oversee a major New York City construction site.
The building is located in a special zoning district that spans Fifth Avenue between 38th and 58th Streets. Ordinarily, a building of that height could not have been built on the small site. However, the building was approved partially because it was mixed-use, with retail, office, and residential units. The Trump Organization also constructed a through-block arcade, connecting to IBM's 590 Madison Avenue tower to the east, and purchased the air rights from the Tiffany's flagship store next door for $5 million. The tower's five-story atrium, which was designed as a "public space" under the city codes at the time, enabled the Trump Organization to build a taller tower, though the plans also stipulated that a landscaped terrace be built. In particular, Trump built an atrium of 15,000 square feet (1,400 m2) in exchange for building 20 extra stories to his tower. At the time, the building was the only skyscraper on Fifth Avenue with its own retail space.
As originally planned, the tower would have 60 stories consisting of 13 office floors, 40 condominium floors, and 2 floors for mechanical uses, but this was later amended. However, in the final plan, there were 26 office floors on the building's base, then another 39 condominium floors containing 270 condominiums on levels 30–68. Originally, it was estimated that it would take $100 million to construct the tower. When the tower eventually opened, it had 58 stories, with the top story marked as "68" because, according to Trump, the five-story-tall public atrium occupies the height of 10 ordinary stories. However, several Bloomberg L.P. writers determined that Trump's calculations did not account for the fact that the ceiling heights in Trump Tower were much taller than in comparable buildings. As a result of this miscalculation, the tower does not have any floors numbered 6–13.
Opening and occupancy
The first tenants included Asprey and Ludwig Beck, who moved into the building before its planned opening in early 1983. The grand opening of the atrium and stores was held on February 14, 1983, with the apartments and offices following shortly thereafter. The forty ground floor stores in the tower were opened for business on November 30, 1983. Despite the destruction of the Bonwit Teller store's building, the flagship store itself was able to keep operating at the site, having signed a lease for 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2) within the lower-levels shopping area. In addition, a wide variety of high-end outfits opened stores in the tower, including Buccellati, Charles Jourdan brands, Mondi, and Fila. Trump said in 1985 that there were more than 100 stores who wanted to move into a space in the tower.
By 1986, between 15% and 20% of the tower's original stores had closed down or moved to another location. The commercial rents were the highest of any building along Fifth Avenue at the time, with retail space in the atrium costing $450 per square foot ($4,800/m2) per year. The flagship Bonwit Teller store remained as one of Trump Tower's retail offerings until 1990, when Bonwit Teller's parent company declared bankruptcy and closed the Trump Tower location.
The residential units were more successful, and 95% of the 263 condominiums were sold in the first four months after it opened, despite their high prices—the cost of condominiums at the tower started at $600,000 and ranged up to $12 million, with the penthouse being sold for $15 million in 1985. The tower attracted many rich and famous residents, including Johnny Carson, David Merrick, Sophia Loren, and Steven Spielberg. In total, Trump received $300 million from the sale of the condominiums, which more than offset the $200 million cost of construction. The tower was seen as "something of a New York landmark" as early as 1985.
In 2006, Forbes magazine valued the 300,000 square feet (28,000 m2) of office spaces at up to $318 million; the tower itself was valued at $288 million, since the Trump Organization had a $30 million mortgage on the property. As of 2013[update], that mortgage had risen to $100 million. The valuation of the building rose from $490 million in 2014 to $600 million in 2015 due to increased rent payments by anchor store Gucci. This revaluation made the tower the single most expensive property within Trump's ownership. The next year, however, the tower's value dropped sharply from $630 million to $471 million, losing $159 million of valuation due to a 20% reduction in the the tower's operating income and a further 8% decline in the overall value of real estate in Manhattan. Due to a $100 million debt incurred on Trump Tower, Forbes magazine calculated the tower's net worth at $371 million, excluding the Trumps' 3-story penthouse.
In March 2017, after Trump was elected president, he wrote several posts on Twitter claiming that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped phones in the tower toward the end of the 2016 campaign. An Obama spokesperson refuted the claims, and during a subsequent conference with the House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee that discussed the issue, FBI Director James Comey informed the committee that there was no evidence of wiretapping in the tower.
The 58-story Trump Tower is 664 feet (202 m) high making it the 64th tallest building in New York City. The tower, designed by Der Scutt of Poor, Swanke, Hayden & Connell, is a reinforced concrete shear wall core structure and, at the time of its completion, was the tallest structure of its type in the city. The 28-sided structure, with a jagged facade, was intended to give the tower more window exposure. A concrete hat-truss at the top of the building, similar to one used in the Trump World Tower, ties exterior columns with the concrete core. This hat-truss increases the effective dimensions of the core to that of the building which allows the building to resist the overturning of lateral forces such as those caused by wind, minor earthquakes, and other impacts perpendicular to the building's height.
The tower's public spaces are clad in Breccia Pernice, a pink white-veined marble. Four gold-painted elevators transport visitors from the lobby to higher floors; a dedicated elevator leads directly to the penthouse where the Trump family lives. Mirrors and brass are used throughout the well furnished apartments and the kitchens are outfitted with "standard suburban" cabinets. This includes the office lobby, located off Fifth Avenue, and the five-level atrium, which features a 60-foot-high (18 m)* internal waterfall alongside the eastern wall spanned by a suspended walkway atop, shops, cafés, and a pedestrian bridge that crosses over the waterfall's pool. The atrium is bedecked in marble, which has been described as "rosy and yellow", and is crowned with a skylight. The atrium was originally supposed to be furnished with multiple 40-foot (12 m), 3,000-pound (1,400 kg) trees, which were transported at a cost of $75,000, but Trump, who supposedly did not like how the trees looked, personally cut them down after impatiently waiting for contractors to painstakingly remove them via a tunnel. Many of the apartments are furnished, but some of the upper-floor commercial spaces come unfurnished.
The tower has two outdoor terraces as part of Trump's agreement with the city during construction. There is a terrace on the fifth floor on the northern (57th Street) side of the building, with a smaller fourth-floor terrace on the southern (56th Street) side. The fifth-floor north-side terrace has several trees and a fountain, while the fourth-floor south-side terrace has little more than a few granite benches. There is also a passageway to a glass-roofed privately operated public space at 590 Madison Avenue. The building's main entrance is on Fifth Avenue, with a side entrance on 56th Street for "private use". Above the main entrance is a logo with 34-inch-high (86 cm) brass capital letters in a Stymie Extra Bold font, which read "TRUMP TOWER". The tower is well-served by public transportation, being about 600 feet (180 m) from three New York City Subway stations: Fifth Avenue/53rd Street, Fifth Avenue–59th Street, and 57th Street–Sixth Avenue.
Retail outlets include Gucci's flagship store at ground floor retail. A Tiffany & Co. store is located next door in its own Art Deco building at 1 East 57th Street. There are also stores selling Trump merchandise that are located in the atrium. During Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, the stores sold campaign memorabilia such as hats, with the proceeds going toward funding his campaign. In 2017, the city ordered the removal of two unauthorized kiosks in Trump Tower that were selling Trump's merchandise.
Since the launch of Trump's presidential campaign in 2015, the number of visits to the tower had risen drastically, with many of the visitors being supporters of Trump's candidacy. The tower gained popularity among New York City tourists in 2016, especially after Trump was elected as U.S. president.
In a 1982 review of the building, a New York Times reporter contrasted the "reflective" Trump Tower with the nearby postmodern 550 Madison Avenue building then occupied by AT&T. Although another writer described the tower as "preposterously lavish" and "showy, even pretentious", the atrium's design was well received, with one commenter saying that it was New York City's "most pleasant interior public space" to be built in recent history. Before the atrium opened, Ada Louise Huxtable, an architectural critic for the New York Times, stated that the building was a "dramatically handsome structure," but reversed stance upon the opening of the atrium, saying that the tower was really "monumentally undistinguished one" and commenting that her earlier comments were taken out of context. Huxtable also called the atrium a "pink-marble maelstrom" and publicly requested in one of her editorials that Trump remove one of her quotes from his building's lobby. In 2010 the AIA Guide to New York City described Trump Tower as a "fantasyland for the affluent shopper" hidden by "folded glass."
The NBC television show The Apprentice was filmed in Trump Tower, on the fifth floor. The set of The Apprentice included the famous boardroom where at least one person was fired at the end of each episode, which was prominently featured in the television show, incorporates a fully functional television studio set inside Trump Tower. Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., founded in 2015, is headquartered within part of the space where The Apprentice was filmed; unlike the former boardroom, the headquarters is unfurnished, with some offices containing " only drywall and no door."
Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States; his wife Melania; and their son Barron live on the penthouse floors. The tower is their main residence, among the Trump family's other homes at Mar-a-Lago in Florida; Seven Springs in Bedford, New York; a part of an estate in Charlottesville, Virginia. Since 2017, Donald primarily lives in the White House but Melania and Barron still live in Trump Tower. Barron is reported to live on his own floor. Before Donald became president, his offices were located on the 26th floor.
Noted soccer organizations and players have rented space or lived in Trump Tower. CONCACAF, the governing body of association football in North & Central America and the Caribbean, occupies the entire 17th floor. Chuck Blazer, the former President of CONCACAF, used to live on two apartments on the 49th floor. One of these apartments, a $6,000-per-month suite, was occupied mainly by his cats, while Blazer lived in an adjoining $18,000-per-month apartment. The apartments and office space were described as part of an "extravagant" lifestyle that ultimately resulted in Blazer being apprehended and becoming an FBI informant in a corruption investigations against association soccer organizations worldwide, including against CONCACAF and FIFA. Another noted soccer figure living in Trump Tower is José Maria Marin, former President of the Brazilian Football Confederation, who is currently under house arrest in his apartment for FIFA-related corruption charges. Additionally, Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo bought an $18.5 million apartment in the tower in August 2015 and planned to buy another $23 million apartment in 2016.
Other residents include former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who lived in the tower when he was Trump's campaign manager; art dealer Hillel "Helly" Nahmad, who bought a second apartment in the tower in July 2010; pharmaceutical entrepreneur Stewart Rahr, who has a corporate space on the 24th floor; Juan Beckmann Vidal, the owner of tequila brand Jose Cuervo; Prince Mutaib bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, who reportedly lives on an entire floor in the tower; and actor Bruce Willis, who bought a $4.26 million apartment in 2007 from one of Trump's opponents. Additionally, Qatar Airways, which is owned by the Qatari government, has had a corporate campus in the tower since at least 2008, a fact that news media outlets noted when one of Trump's executive orders, EO 13769, banned immigration from seven majority-Muslim Middle Eastern countries, but not from Qatar.
Past tenants include Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, the ex-president of Haiti who died in 2014, was discovered to have been living in a $2 million apartment on the 54th floor in 1989, when public records in Haiti showed that Duvalier had forgotten to pay his bills. The singer Michael Jackson rented an apartment on the 63rd floor during the 1990s. The composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, known for musicals such as Cats, moved out of his 59th- and 60-floor apartment in 2010 after 17 years of stating his intention to do so. Carlos Peralta, a billionaire businessman from Mexico, sold an apartment in Trump Tower in 2009 for $13.5 million. In addition, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.'s headquarters were on the fifth floor.
In February 2017, the United States Department of Defense announced that it was looking to lease space in Trump Tower, in order to house "personnel and equipment" dedicated toward protecting President Trump. This followed precedents in which the DOD bought space in other presidents' properties, but the difference in this case was that the DOD's plan would directly profit President Trump's business holdings. Later that month, a controversial Indiegogo campaign launched to house refugees in Trump Tower in response to EO 13769, which barred nationals of several majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States before being superseded by EO 13780.
In popular culture
Trump Tower served as the location for Wayne Enterprises in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises. In a 2012 vlog post, comprising one of the few movie reviews on the Trump Organization's YouTube channel, Trump referred to the movie as "really terrific" and that "most importantly Trump Tower—my building—plays a role." The tower also makes a cameo appearance in The Wolf of Wall Street.
Trump Tower is featured on the cover of the 1997 video game Grand Theft Auto, and is depicted in the 2008 video game Grand Theft Auto IV.
Images for kids
Looking upward from the Fifth Avenue entrance
In Spanish: Torre Trump para niños
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