Work Trumps fashion
More than a billionaire’s daughter, Ivanka Trump is a real estate mogul in her own right, reports Julie Earle- Levine
IVANKA Trump, daughter of billionaire US real estate developer Donald Trump, says she doesn’t try to blend in any more when she turns up for work on construction sites. The former model wears Yves St Laurent suits with workmen’s boots.
‘‘ I realised a while ago I would get attention whatever I wore,’’ Trump says.
‘‘ I used to be reticent to stand out, but then after a period of time I realised that as a 25- year- old chick with blonde hair I wasn’t going to blend in.’’
Ivanka, from her father’s first marriage to Ivana, has been working for ‘‘ The Donald’’ for the past two years and sounds a lot like him when discussing one of her favourite topics, real estate. She is vice- president of real estate development and acquisitions for the Trump Organisation.
Like her father, she exudes self- confidence, talks fast and likes to offer up figures, such as prices per square foot.
Ivanka also graduated from the Wharton School, like Donald, where she studied finance and real estate. At first she worked for developer Forest City Ratner, not her father, who she admits is a tough, but fair, boss.
‘‘ If he didn’t think we were doing a good job, he would fire us,’’ she says. Her brothers, Donald Trump Jnr and Eric, also work for the family organisation. For her, real estate is in the blood. ‘‘ We are old- school developers. Real estate is not just a numbers game. I remember walking through sites with my father and grandfather, Fred.
‘‘ I have an actual understanding of what it takes to develop a great project.’’
Donald’s father was a housing developer in New York’s outer boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Ivanka believes there is no better investment than property, especially in New York, where prices for some properties have slowed after skyrocketing rises.
‘‘ For me, I’d prefer to put my money in real estate than anywhere else. If you can hold on to real estate through the bad times, you’ll almost always make money. It’s all about great location and quality product,’’ she says, adding that her father taught her a lot.
Ivanka is working on a controversial downtown project — Trump Soho Condominium New York — a 45- storey tower that is four levels taller than anything in that downtown neighbourhood.
‘‘ It’s an incredibly exciting building,’’ she says of the glass tower, which has some residents protesting. Its hotel condos include 413 units, with an Olympic size swimming pool and world- class spa.
‘‘ When I looked around at the hotel market, there was a great void that needed to be filled downtown.’’
Ivanka predicts that all new condo projects now need to offer luxury amenities to attract buyers. ‘‘ What used to be OK in the 80s — say a nine foot six ( 2.9m) ceiling height — well that now needs to be at least 10ft ( 3.05m). You need to offer the buyer a lot more to get the dollar.’’
She says the Soho
a world- class restaurant, 24- hour room service, a library, wine cellar, business centre, fullservice lobby, ground- level bar and several conference spaces, as well as a pool deck with cabanas and a fitness centre.
Views from some apartments include the Hudson River, Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and Manhattan skyline.
Ivanka lives at Trump Park Avenue, the former Delmonico Hotel on Park Avenue and 59th, now a Trump building.
‘‘ I invest in all of our buildings. I also plan to buy downtown.’’
She has bought at the Trump Ocean Resort Baja, in northern Mexico, and in Chicago.
Other than the Soho project, Ivanka is responsible for 33 projects around the world and spends much of her time on planes.
A typical week might be visiting 400ha of land in Aberdeen, Scotland, where Trump will build a large, ‘‘ world- class’’ golf course. She also likes golf, just like her father, who prefers to play only on his own golf courses.
Or Ivanka may be in Atlanta, where she is overseeing the construction of two residential towers, or visiting the Las Vegas project, a 1300- room hotel.
‘‘ I’m also looking at a few deals presented to me over the past few months. I love London but it is a very hard market and an expensive market when buying with US dollars.’’ New York, where prices have surged, remains a relatively good deal, she says. ‘‘ The people buying here are very international and very educated buyers who have been exposed to multiple markets and countries. They know what is the highest end of real estate and are prepared to pay for it.’’
For her, the best part of the job is not appearing on The Donald’s television show
( she replaced Carolyn Kepcher as Trump’s right- hand woman) but being on site.
‘‘ I have to be on site as much as possible. For me that is what I enjoy the most. I’ve never been more satisfied.’’