clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A brief history of Donald Trump’s LA real estate career

New, 19 comments

The Republican nominee hasn’t had much success as a SoCal developer

With the most torturous election season in recent memory mercifully nearing conclusion, the Los Angeles Times has put together a very detailed analysis of Republican nominee Donald Trump’s fairly underwhelming career in the Los Angeles real estate game.

While the hotel and casino magnate has certainly left his mark on his home city of New York, Trump hasn’t managed to acquire anywhere near the same number of signature properties out west. As the Times notes, however, that hasn’t been through lack of effort. Here’s a few highlights from Trump’s history of Los Angeles dealings.

-A frequent guest at the Beverly Hills hotel, Trump claimed in his book The Art of the Deal that he tried to buy the property in the 1980s, with a plan to bring on Studio 54 creators Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager to give the classy hotel a (presumably cocaine-friendly makeover). The price, however, was apparently a bit too high for Trump, and former owner Seema Boesky tells the Times she’s not even sure she remembers him making a serious bid.

-In 1989, Trump joined a syndicate in purchasing the former Ambassador Hotel with a plan to develop the world’s tallest building on the site.

-Trump’s plan for the 125-story tower was foiled by none other than the LA Unified School District, who replaced the historic Koreatown hotel with the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools complex.

-A casino partnership with the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians in 2000 didn’t quite go as planned, and the tribe paid Trump $6 million to get out of the deal in 2004.

-In 1988, Trump told the Times that the prospect of earthquakes were deterring him from doing business in Los Angeles, noting that he was "a tremendous believer that someday Las Vegas may be the West Coast."

-In 2002, Trump purchased a Rancho Palos Verdes golf course that had partially fallen into the ocean.

-After spending more than $250 million restoring the course, a tax attorney for Trump claims it’s only worth $10 million today.