The Trump clan—Donald, his hair, and his heirs: son Donald Jr. and daughter Ivanka—are in Vancouver today to stick the family brand on what will be one of the tallest and most-expesnive skyscraper condo projects in the city.
But will buyers be convinced to spend millions on luxury condominiums where few could be sold before?
Developers had marketed the prime downtown plot as the Ritz Carleton, with prices from $1.4 million to an expected $28 million. Then the financial crisis of 2008 caused sales to slow and the project to flounder.
The new Donald-endorsed tower will be 63 storeys, rivaling the current downtown landmark, the Shangri-La.
Trump brings his name to the enterprise, not investment and experts are divided on whether his cachet will help.
Steven Kate, a branding expert at Simon Fraser University, is skeptical. Trump’s Tea Party-ish antics during the last U.S. election don’t play well here. “Questioning whether President Obama was in fact born in the U.S.—that borders on Crazy Town,” he told the Vancouver Sun. “Canadians don’t go for that, they think it’s absurd.”
Charles Gautheir of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, disagrees. “Branding it a Trump building is only going to add to the cachet of the area,” he told Global News.
Although some Vancouverites might not be impressed by The Donald, many of the buyers will be international.
Trump is a global brand, with his name licensed to real-estate developers from Turkey to Brazil. His typical deals include selling developers the right to use his name for an upfront fee of between $5 million and $10 million, a source familiar with such deals told The Wall Street Journal.