Video: Trump talks real estate

updated 7/8/2005 4:27:28 PM ET 2005-07-08T20:27:28

Real estate mogul Donald Trump is going head-to-head with one of his ex-wives — this time in the real-estate arena. Trump and ex-wife Ivana have both jumped into the volatile Las Vegas market, where each is building competing luxury condominium projects.

The success or failure of the dueling developments may be the latest test of whether the turbulent Las Vegas market, which saw prices plummet during a pricing debacle last fall, is back on track.

Some Las Vegas condo projects, such as former NBA superstar Michael Jordan's planned development, have been scrapped before the shovel even touched the ground.

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held Tuesday for Donald Trump's 64-story Trump International Hotel & Tower Las Vegas, adjacent to the Fashion Show mall on the Strip and across from the Wynn Las Vegas resort and golf course.

Further north, at the end of the Strip, his ex-wife is planning a development, called the Ivana, that she says will be the tallest residential condominium in Las Vegas at 80 stories. She has invited about a thousand brokers to meet at the Bellagio hotel the same day as Trump's groundbreaking to discuss sales plans. Her project isn't slated to break ground until next summer.

Although Las Vegas has seen a surge in condo and condo-hotel developments, Donald Trump isn't worried. He said he hasn't had any problems getting the prices he's requested.

"We're totally sold out," he said. "If anyone drops out, I have 2,000 people to take their place."

There has been much talk about speculative buyers jumping into the condo market with the intention of flipping units for a quick profit or renting them out. Fitch Ratings director Dina Treanor recently expressed concerns about the Las Vegas condo market, describing it as overheated and predicting 10 percent of those loans could go into default.

Trump admits many of his buyers are purchasing units as a second home or investment. "I think you have a lot of investors. I think you have a lot of people who are going to live there, and I think you're going to have a lot of people who want to rent their units out," through his management company, he said.

When asked about his ex-wife's development, Trump's competitive side came out.

"You know, I hope she does well," he said, although he repeatedly questioned whether her developers — Victor Altomare and his team — would be able to get financing for the project, given its location and other factors.

When asked if he thinks Ivana is trying to capitalize on his name, Trump emphatically said, "Yes," adding, "I'm not thrilled."

This isn't Ivana's first foray into real estate. She lent her name to a residential development, called Bentley Bay, in Miami. However, the developer, Italy's Riccardo Olivieri, miscalculated construction costs and wound up filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2004.

Konnel Peterson, a Re-Max broker in Las Vegas, said there are many new developments under construction, but there are also buyers.

"I think overall there's a huge demand in Las Vegas" due to the city's weather, tax climate, job growth and proximity to California, Peterson said.

The dueling Trump projects may cater to different buyers: Trump is in the heart of the Strip, which could be appealing to gamblers, while Ivana's is away from the hustle and bustle of the Strip for those who don't want to be in the middle of the action.

Ivana Trump was out of the country and unavailable for comment. It's not known if she is putting any of her own cash into the Las Vegas development or simply her name.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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