A former Goldman Sachs partner is leading the charge to excise the Trump name from the Upper East Side’s Trump Palace, where he’s been trying to offload his condo since 2015. Laurence Weiss has circulated a petition among the building’s 277 apartments, seeking support from two-thirds of the owners to rename the building by its address, 200 East 69th Street.
The Trump moniker has taken on a different meaning of late to residents of the New York buildings that bear the president’s surname. In late 2016, residents of 140, 160, and 180 Riverside South, formerly known as Trump Place, gathered a two-thirds majority vote to remove the Trump name from the building’s exterior.
Equity Residential, who purchased the buildings after they were developed and branded by Trump, explained the removal was to “assume a neutral building identity that appeals to all current and future residents.”
At this time, Weiss’s Trump Palace petition has gained considerably less momentum than needed to win a two-thirds majority, but that’s mounting—at least publicly—now that it’s been covered by The Hollywood Reporter and gotten a nod by Keith Olbermann on his GQ video series The Resistance (h/t LLNYC). Olbermann himself offloaded a condo in Trump Palace in July 2016, tweeting at the time, “I'M FREEEEEEEEE! ... I got out with 90% of my money and 100% of my soul!”
Stats pulled from New York City real estate website StreetEasy in late October of 2016 insinuate that the name brand is losing prestige among buyers. Between the periods spanning October 2014 through October 2015, and November 2015 through October 2016, sales in Trump-owned buildings dipped a significant 26 percent.
“Where that brand used to enhance value, it is now being perceived as a detraction to value,” Michael Vargas of Vanderbilt Appraisal Company told the Times when Trump Place was rebranded. Dipping values, he said, were a combination of “a slowdown in the real estate market combined with a negative view of the brand.”
It appears the petition to rebrand Trump Palace is very much rooted in the loss of value rather than an inherent disagreement with the president’s politics. Weiss first listed his 3,600-square-foot penthouse for $15.5 million in April 2015. Still on the market, the apartment is now seeking $8.9 million. Weiss writes in his appeal to his neighbors, “I understand that for some this is a complicated issue. For me, it's only business. Our homes are worth more without the Trump name.”
To date, 32 of Weiss’s neighbors have signed the petition. As Trump himself might tell you, the road to two-thirds is long.
- A former partner at Goldman Sachs is mounting an effort to remove the name "Trump" from one of his marquee towers in New York City to boost property values [THR via LLNYC]
- Trump Place buildings will lose the President-Elect’s surname [Curbed]
- Keith Olbermann Frees Himself Of His Trump Palace Condo in Just Three Months [Curbed]