Owners of Trump Plaza are expected to vote in January on whether to create
new signs to put atop the West Palm Beach complex once owned by Trump.
The twin towers on Flagler Drive in downtown West Palm Beach, which no longer have the Trump Plaza sign atop the buildings.
Since Palm Beach resident Donald Trump was elected
president, residents of this upscale condominium complex at 525 S. Flagler
Drive have had to contend with a lot of attention.
Not all of it has been to their liking, even though neither Trump nor his family business has owned the property in nearly 30 years.
Anti-Trump protesters sometimes take to the streets in downtown West Palm Beach, across the bridges from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on Palm Beach. They often pass by the 32-story Trump Plaza towers, with their units priced from $1 million to more than $4 million. The waterfront marches have made Trump Plaza a magnet for protesters’ ire, despite the fact that Trump has nothing to do with the property now.
Two years ago, residents held a vote to determine whether to remove Trump’s name from the condominium. The measure did not advance, and most residents said they wanted the Trump name to stay. Among them were many foreign owners who thought the name added value, residents said.
Around that time, in late 2017, the backlit Trump Plaza signs came down off the top of the buildings as part of a planned exterior renovation. One Trump Plaza sign faced east and one sign faced west.
The signs came down to allow for new roofs and fresh paint on the twin towers.
The redo of the building’s exterior provided an extra benefit: a respite from the polarizing attention of having Trump’s name emblazoned across the tops of the towers.
Since then, both backers and critics of Trump have hardened their positions on his politics and policies.
But the taboo of removing Trump’s name from a building has softened.
Erasing the signature Trump brand is a trend that has taken place at other U.S. properties bearing the Trump name, buildings where residents have soured on being associated with the politics, and controversy, associated with the president and his administration.
For instance, during the past year, condominium owners in two “Trump Place” buildings on Manhattan’s Upper West Side voted to remove the Trump name from their buildings’ exteriors.
As a result, sentiment toward getting rid of the Trump name atop the West Palm Beach buildings has shifted, one resident said.
“Unlike two years ago, opinions have changed about whether the Trump name should stay,” one resident said. “So many residential buildings have gotten rid of the Trump name, it’s nothing so radical anymore.”
Trump Plaza residents are, in fact, facing a two-fold issue: Should they change the condominium’s name to remove Trump’s name legally from the property? Or should they just keep the rooftop signs off?
Apart from the rooftop signs, there are two street-level signs. Also, the condo’s legal documents all contain the Trump name.
One source speculated that keeping the Trump name off the top of the building could set the stage for removing it legally from the property altogether.
The Trump Plaza name on the West Palm Beach condominium complex is a vestige to the time when, in the 1980s, the brash New York real estate developer tried his hand at finishing the distressed Plaza project.
Trump borrowed millions to buy the Plaza from the Bank of New York, which had reclaimed it from its developers. But Trump struggled to sell units amid an economic downturn, and then ended up handing the condo complex over to his lenders in 1991, minus any personal guaranty.
While putting a sign atop a condominium might have been in vogue 35 years ago, these days it’s not the norm. In fact, no other condominium in West Palm Beach is believed to have its name stripped across the top.
And although Trump Plaza is an old complex, condo owners have spent big money to freshen up the place.
In addition to the new roof and paint job, the pools and lobby have been renovated or redecorated, and the balconies restored, as part of the $6 million facelift.
And while the building’s 180 residential units are decades old, a number of unit owners have done major renovations, creating modern spaces and in some cases combining units to make large apartments.
Real estate brokers say the complex is popular with buyers who want security, amenities, professional staff and, of course, the views of the Intracoastal Waterway, Palm Beach and the Atlantic Ocean.