• Trump could boost West Palm tower

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    President Donald Trump of the US has put Palm Beach County, Florida, on the map. And now professionals in the real estate market are starting to see a business opportunity.

    In the 10 months since Great Gulf of Canada submitted plans to build a 27-story tower on South Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach, a certain part-time winter resident has continued his seasonal treks to Palm Beach, turning what was once a home and private club into the winter White House.

    This has not escaped Great Gulf’s president Christopher Wein, who hopes to sell 84 condos costing from $1 million to $3 million at 1515 S. Flagler Drive.

    “The name recognition is helpful. Palm Beach and West Palm Beach were considered lesser-known, sleepy areas, and all of a sudden the President of the United States has a private retreat there and spends a lot of time there. Now it’s a destination known throughout the world,” Wein said.

    Toronto-based Great Gulf last year bought the 1515 S. Flagler Drive property, where the former 1515 Tower was famously imploded on Valentine’s Day in 2010 to make way for a different condo project that never was built.

    On the now-vacant site, Great Gulf plans to build a 27-story boutique condominium. A marketing campaign is slated to begin in the fall and sales should start in February. The height and size were approved with the prior project.

    A fun fact for potential buyers of the planned luxury condo: The property sits across the Intracoastal Waterway from Trump’s home, Mar-a-Lago.

    Wein was careful to say that he doesn’t necessarily think the Trump name recognition is negative or positive — only that it creates awareness, much as President George H.W. Bush’s summer home in Maine brought awareness to Kennebunkport or President John F. Kennedy brought awareness to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

    But Boca Raton commercial real estate broker Peter Reed thinks the Trump link to Palm Beach is good for business. In fact, Reed has created mailers to potential hedge fund tenants in New York and Connecticut suggesting they lease space in the Northbridge Centre office tower at 515 N. Flagler Drive so they can have “an office by the winter White House.”

    In any event, it’s going to take more than the novelty of Trump across the water to sell luxury condos, but Great Gulf’s Wein is optimistic about sales. He believes there’s strong demand from buyers interested in living in-town, on the water, in new construction.

    Wein expects his buyers will come from Canada, the Northeast, and from local communities. Many residents are moving east, downsizing from country club communities to new residential housing along the coast, he said.
    “That’s why we think our size is good,” Wein said. The 1515 condo will contain units ranging from 2,000 to 3,000 square feet, which is still plenty large for former country club dwellers, he said.

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