Published On: Wed, Nov 12th, 2014

Trump’s Fiasco Hotel Is the Hope Diamond of SoHo

Trump SoHo

Who would have thought one of Trump’s buildings would seem almost as cursed as the Hope Diamond?  The Trump SoHo turned out to be nearly as unlucky, and was built with high hopes, until it ended up in foreclosure shortly before the fatal heart attack of  real estate mogul Tamir Sapir, who predicted the tower would be unlike any New York City ever had or would ever have, according to WorldCrunch.

Right he was, but it was unlike any other structure in the city for its  an impressive tale of woe. It was the tallest and costliest building in the city erected since the financial crisis, with 391 units on 46 floors towering over SoHo. It had the Trump name and the design talent of Donald’s daughter Ivenka. The Sapir Organization and the Bayrock Group invested $450 million in the ambitious project.

Like many huge projects, there was opposition in the beginning. It was meant to be a condo-hotel, but some had objections to residential use. While excavation was underway, 190 body parts were found, and were discovered to be the remains of a Presbyterian Church graveyard, which was burned to the ground to protest the abolitionist sentiments of its parishoners, according to the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation.

Worries arose that the fact this might be an historical site might interfere with the building, especially since the historical society wanted to do research into whether this could have been part of the Underground railroad. Nonetheless, the green light was given to continue.

In 2008, in the middle of construction, a portion of the building collapsed, killing one worker and wounding 3 others. The problems didn’t end when the building opened, as 17 of the buyers were suing, because project owners said the building was 60% occupied when the number was merely 20%. The buyers were rewarded most of their down payments and fled. With this news, prices, which ranged between $1.2 million for a studio  and $50 million for a presidential suite, plummeted. Alex and Tamir Sapir’s organization was $290 million in debt over the fiasco. A week after Tamir Sapir tried to get CIM to buy a portion of the debt, and CIM declined, he passed away of a heart attack at the age of 67.

A few days prior to Tamir’s death, he told the Wall Street Journal, “The current structure does not make financial sense for ownership.”  Trump, however, remained in denial, and said the hotel was “very successful.” and the whole issue was an issue “between lender and owner.”

Can arrogance Trump obvious failure? Donald remains confident that it can.

 

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