Trump May Build Hotels In U.s.s.r.

Posted: July 07, 1987

MOSCOW — Is Red Square ready for Trump Tower?

Developer Donald Trump said yesterday that he had met with Soviet officials who want to interest the mega-capitalist in building luxury hotels in Moscow and Leningrad.

After seeing "five or six" sites in Moscow, including one not far from the Kremlin, Trump was to leave today for Leningrad, the second-largest Soviet city, to look at sites there.

"Can something be done? Who knows? It is really too soon to tell," Trump, 41, said in an interview at the hotel where he was staying.

He said that Soviet regulations on joint ventures, which require that the Soviets hold a controlling 51 percent interest, could prove daunting.

"A 51-49 split could cause people such as me a lot of problems, psychological and otherwise," he said. "They may not have the flexibility necessary to get this done.

"I like to have control, to put it mildly."

Trump, Manhattan's most famous and flamboyant developer, already controls a sizable chunk of New York and two Atlantic City casinos. In addition, he recently received permission to buy a controlling interest in Resorts International, which operates one casino in Atlantic City and is building another there.

And Trump and New York Mayor Edward I. Koch made headlines last month with a vituperative exchange of insults over their competing plans to keep NBC from leaving New York.

The Soviet invitation had its genesis at a New York City luncheon six months ago when Trump met Soviet Ambassador Yuri Dubinin, who mentioned how much his daughter admired the opulent Trump Tower.

"He actually suggested that we make a similar (architectural) statement in Moscow," Trump said.

"There are not too many ideas that I become attracted to, but that is one I think would interest a lot of people. Not purely from an economic standpoint, either."

Dubinin wrote a letter to Trump, who hosted a meeting with Soviet officials in New York. The invitation to Moscow was issued by Intourist, the giant Soviet in-country travel organization, which operates all hotels for foreigners in the Soviet Union.

"They want me to build a great hotel in the Soviet Union where, unfortunately, there are not many great hotels," Trump said.

Trump said he was excited about the sites he was shown yesterday. If a deal is consummated, he said, it probably will be for an entirely new building, rather than a renovation or reconstruction of an existing hotel.

Trump also said he was uncertain whether he would agree to a project requiring a large amount of Soviet participation in its construction.

"The level of construction sophistication is so high in New York," he said. "It could be a problem here. It depends on the level of the local talent you get here."

Trump was full of praise for the officials he met, and diplomatic about Moscow architecture.

"I think the intentions are very good," he said. "I think this city has some of the most incredible buildings in the world. Some beautiful churches and cathedrals, and some of those precast concrete buildings, which are unfortunate.

"It's a totally interesting place. I think the Soviet Union is really making an effort to cooperate in the sense of dealing openly with other nations and in opening up the country."

Trump said he had not tested the country's policy of openness by demanding that a Trump hotel in Moscow or Leningrad bear his name.

"That," he said with a smile, "hasn't been discussed yet."

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