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Donald Trump to lay his mark on Dubai

Donald Trump is a man with a big ego. His eponymous golden tower in New York is extremely big. He does big very well, so perhaps one shouldn’t be surprised to learn that he is filling up part of the skyline in Dubai, the world’s fastest growing city, with the 3,000 foot-tall Trump International Hotel and Tower.

Apartments in the glass and stone 50-storey building come at a sky-high price too, with single studios starting at just over £500,000, and penthouses selling for ten times that. The £323million condo/hotel/waterfront style complex will be complete in three years and boasts the most prestigious address in the Middle Eastern haven, on the Palm Jumeirah man-made island.

The project is being managed by Donald Trump Junior, who has all of his father’s ambition, work ethic and dreams but seems a rather nicer bloke. However, he is only 28 so you could say he has plenty of time to turn into a pastiche of his tough-guy dad.

After all, he is learning at the knee of the man who devised the TV show The Apprentice and made a fortune from the phrase “You’re fired”. Donald Jr has been in the family business only five years but already heads the firm’s development team, which means looking for new investment opportunities. He and his sister Ivanka report directly to their father but expect to have less hair than he does when their time comes to inherit the Trump property empire. “My father’s control is growing, if anything,” Donald Jr tells me. “He is not looking to relinquish anything. In fact, he is wanting more. He is just like my grandfather, whose motto was ‘to retire is to expire’.”

Donald Jr spends most of his time flying round the world inspecting the company’s building projects. They include a 90-storey Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago; a luxury 64-storey condominium tower, in Las Vegas, of 1,282 luxury residential and hotel units, scheduled for completion in early 2008; and a 301-unit tower in Fort Lauderdale, built in the shape of a luxury cruise liner. Then there are other developments in Panama, Mexico, Asia and China. Donald Jr is busy, busy – too busy to pursue a TV career. “I visited seven cities in four countries in 10 days recently,” he says, adding that he is happier parachuting into building sites than sitting in front of TV cameras. “I do appear on The Apprentice with dad and Ivanka from time to time, but I am more interested in real estate.”

Home for the moment is a multi-million-dollar apartment in Manhattan which he shares with his wife of eight months, model Vanessa Hayden, whom he manages to see about two days a month. “She married me with full disclosure,” he says. Dad hasn’t been to Dubai yet but will be going soon to inspect his boy’s work. “I think he will like it,” Donald says. “It will be the unique flagship hotel on the Palm Jumeirah.”

Since 30 per cent of property bought in Dubai is sold to the British, Donald Jr is keen to target his “cousins”, beguiling us with attractive rental returns and a share in the complex profits. “You will get your money back when you sell,” he says. “We are very brand-conscious and that means luxury and quality. I would rather hire one English-trained butler than a team of untrained migrant workers.”

However, there are more affordable options for those with rather less than £500,000 to spend. Private developer Dubai Select is building a 27-storey property guaranteeing every purchaser unobstructed views of the marina and Dubai’s grand yacht club for a starting price of £75,000.

There is also the option of a finance scheme available, enabling purchasers to defer 50 per cent of payments for five years: (15 per cent on contract exchange, 15 per cent in November 2006, 20 per cent in March 2007, then quarterly payments for five years at 10.1 per cent interest).

The Point Dubai Marina will comprise 188 properties – studios measuring from 401sq ft (37.26sq m) costing £75,000, one-, two- and three bedroomed apartments as well as three-bedroomed villas, and a four-bedroomed villa priced at £615,377. Owners will also benefit from exclusive use of a swimming pool, sauna, steam room, spa and gym, and shopping and dining facilities.

Completion is scheduled for April 2008. There are also “two-week” fractional ownership schemes, soon to be released, on other properties from the same developer, offering budget conscious property hunters a bite-sized investment in the planet’s most happening place.

Source: Sunday Express, July 9th, 2006.

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