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For Trump, UN Building Is Real Estate Deal That Got Away

'I offered to rebuild it at a tiny fraction of what they were going to build it for'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 23, 2019 2:34 AM CDT
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In this July 21, 2005 photo, Donald Trump holds a picture of the New York City skyline while testifying on renovation of the United Nations Headquarters.   (AP Photo/Dennis Cook, file)
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(Newser) – As President Trump visits the United Nations building in New York this week, he won't be focused only on the global challenges facing the world body—he's still reliving the real estate deal there that got away. More than a decade later, Trump vividly recalls the overtures he made to rebuild the 39-story tower in the early 2000s and posits that he could have done a better job with the $2.3 billion project, which took about three years longer than anticipated and came in more than $400 million over budget, the AP reports. In the leadup to this week's UN General Assembly meetings, the president reminisced with reporters on Air Force One this past week about his efforts to win the project. "I offered to rebuild it at a tiny fraction of what they were going to build it for," he said.

In 2005, then-developer Trump went before a Senate committee to complain that the UN was bungling the project. "They don't know what they want, they don't know what they have, they don't know what they're doing," Trump said. He appealed to the panel to let him manage the project. He would even waive his fee, he said. In the end, he didn't get the project, but his words were music to senators concerned about costs. "When can you start?" asked Democratic Sen. Mark Dayton. Trump is scheduled to speak to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. He was asked if he'll think back to his real estate days when he returns to the UN compound. It sounded like he certainly would. "I was a very good real estate developer," he reminisced. He added that he had correctly predicted "it will end up being much more" than expected. "It would have been a great job," he declared.

(Read more United Nations stories.)

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