Trump Jr believes Middle East and Asia will provide opportunities for growth in future.
Trumps see Dubai as vital test for Middle East success
By Suzanne Fenton, Staff Reporter Published: July 10, 2008, 23:53
New York: Donald Trump Jr, executive vice-president of the Trump Organisation, is the eldest son of real estate mogul, Donald Trump and his first wife, Ivana.
Trump Jr graduated from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in finance and real estate. He has appeared on his father’s popular show The Apprentice. Trump Jr is expected to oversee the recently launched Trump Soho Hotel Condominium in Manhattan and is also heavily involved in the international expansion of the Trump Organisation.
Trump Jr works alongside his two siblings, Ivanka and Eric, and all are vice-presidents in the Trump Organisation.
Upcoming projects of the Trumps are Trump Towers Philadelphia, Trump Towers Istanbul Sisli, Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico, Trump International Golf Club Puerto Rico and Trump International Golf Links Scotland.
Gulf News spoke to Trump Jr in the Trump Organisation HQ in New York, just after the global launch of the $400 million Trump International Hotel and Tower, the centerpiece of the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai.
Gulf News: From what you’ve seen, how do you view the quality of construction in Dubai?
Donald Trump Jr: I was speaking at the Dubai Cityscape conference a few years ago and in going around as part of my keynote address, it was one of my major points: that you’re selling high-end real estate but it’s not up to par with high-end real estate around the rest of the world. I think we’ve seen it in a lot of the emerging world where it’s a case of “it doesn’t matter, we’re getting high prices”.
And from a service standpoint in Dubai and parts of the Middle East and emerging world, it’s like “let’s just throw 30 untrained people at it and hope something happens”, rather than one person who really gets service. So we’re making sure that construction [of Trump International Hotel and Tower] is above and beyond anything Dubai has done. A lot of the buyers of the initial 50 units have seen that and they are buyers of our product elsewhere, and we’ve told them we’re going to try and build a New York quality building in Dubai.
How is the Trump Organisation expanding internationally? How do you choose which opportunities to target?
As incredible deals crop up, we get involved. This one in Dubai was clearly a no-brainer. To develop the flagship hotel and residences with a building that makes such a statement, given the environment on the Palm. It makes a statement without being unpractical or ridiculously tall. There’s plenty of examples in Dubai, it’s all about the biggest and the best, but it’s not practical.
Given the location [of the hotel], you can choose the ocean view or look back towards Dubai and everything that’s going on there and perhaps that view, will arguably be one of the best views in the world.
When you think about great undertakings of real estate throughout the world, the Palm is an amazing thing. You really have to see it to believe it. (In Dubai), you’re limited only by your imagination and the laws of physics.
We’re entering the Middle East for the first time, where you’re allowed to do stuff there that you’re not allowed to do anywhere else in the world.
How will Trump attract Middle East buyers?
We’re catering to the upper-upper demographic. Are there parts of the Middle East that are more conservative? Certainly. Will the brand go over as well in those parts as it does in Dubai? Perhaps not to that extent. But there is still a reason our buildings have incredible Middle Eastern wealth, from Saudi Arabia, through the GCC. There are aspects that may not appeal to that market, so we wouldn’t bring those things there.
Dubai is much less conservative than other parts of the Middle East. I’ll turn down 30 deals before I choose one. This one was clearly the right one to start with. I think the success we’ll have here will help translate through the rest of the Middle East.
Do you think you’ll replicate the design of the Trump hotel on the Palm, so it becomes a design instantly recognisable as Trump?
No. There’s nothing worse than going into a five-star hotel in London and it’s exactly the same as the one I was just in in the Bahamas. That’s boring to me. The one in Dubai will be the most architecturally significant building in what’s known as architecture town.
Which other emerging markets are you looking at?
We’re looking at Asia. I’m going to be in Vietnam next month. I just got back from Russia and Kiev and Beijing. From a resort development perspective, Vietnam has incredible beaches, there’s a lot going on, great environmental incentives. We’re actually hosting the Miss Universe pageant there this month. We’re looking at a lot of the Pacific rim area, Thailand, we’ve spent a lot of time looking in Bangkok. We’ve seen a lot of desire and demand from our buyers to do horizontal development, like in Puerto Rico and Mexico, as people are looking for secondary and tertiary houses but still appreciate the same level of luxury.