Monday, June 23, 2008

Trump: Only 15 Percent Closed!?!?!

That figure, from Deutsche Bank's gaming analyst Bill Lerner this morning is staggering. He's saying that only 15 percent of units at the Trump condo-hotel in Las Vegas have closed a full three months after it opened. (Normal would be 35 percent if the markets weren't such a mess, he wrote.) This comes one day after Donald Trump himself told Howard Stutz in Sunday's Review-Journal that the new building has seen "roughly" 20 percent of its units close and, really, nobody ought to worry their pretty little heads. After all, he's Trump, right?

Trump acknowledged o Stutz the closings are going slowly because of the banking and mortgage meltdown. Thing is, go ahead and compare that to this much more upbeat exchange in March on "The Strip" with The Apprentice" champ Stefanie Schaeffer, whose prize (?) for winning the show was becoming marketing vice president for Trump's Vegas building:

Friess: The first tower is sold out?

Schaeffer: The first tower, I do have some select units still available but for the most part, it's close to sold out. So if people are interest, they can still contact us for Tower I. But we are taking reservations for Tower II.

Friess: Did you find that any of your first tower folks were unable to get their mortgages because of the market?

Schaeffer: Well, we're in the process of closing right now and thus far we haven't really had a problem. Everything's been going pretty smoothly. Then again, when you talk about Cosmo and you talk about some of these other projects that stopped mid-construction or even pre-construction, you're not talking about the Trump product and the Trump brand carries again, the Trump name, which pretty much says it all. People know they're getting a level of excellence that is not only unsurpassed anywhere in the world but is something that speaks for itself. So even in a poor market, we've really been relatively unaffected.

That's an awfully rosy way of looking at things. "relatively unaffected." Mmmhmm. Hear the whole conversation here.

Sure, Trump is correct in partly blaming the underperformance on the economic conditions, but has the market really changed significantly since Schaeffer made these remarks in late March or was she LYING THROUGH HER TEETH? It is telling that Palms Place has been open for only about six weeks and they're 45 percent closed, according to Lerner. Granted, Trump has 1,282 units and Palms Place only has 599, but that still means that in raw numbers Palms Place has closed more units --about 192 for Trump, 270 for Palms.

Stutz reported Trump as saying Trump had closed "more than 250" units. If Lerner's figures are correct, Trump was lying to Stutz. But either which way, this building is, thus far, a flop. A lovely flop, from what I've heard, but a flop nonetheless.


Anonymous said...

On top of that, Trump apparently can't sell the room as a hotel room, until its been closed, and Trump is selling rooms via opaque sites such as Priceline, you have to wonder how things are going there....