(AP) – NEW YORK — Fifty protesters greeted Donald Trump Wednesday at the half-built tower that will be the Trump SoHo, a 46-story condo hotel on the western edge of the artsy enclave.
Trump thanked the protesters ‘for helping to make this job so successful’ and said there were already 3,200 applications for the 400 units.
The building will dwarf any structure within dozens of blocks and has raised the ire of neighborhood activists hoping to preserve some of downtown Manhattan’s bohemian past.
‘I’m not against change but I think that the diversity of New York City is really disappearing,’ said Linda Mason, a SoHo artist holding a sign that said, ‘Down With Trump Greed.”We just do not need something this high.’
The building, scheduled to open in spring 2009, is being marketed as a condo hotel. Buyers of the fully furnished individual units will be permitted to stay in them for no more than 120 days in a year; the rooms will be rented to hotel guests the rest of the time.
The arrangement was negotiated with city officials because new apartment buildings are prohibited by the area’s zoning but hotels are allowed.
Foes of the building have promised legal action to challenge its hybrid ownership structure.
The project is a joint venture between the Trump Organization and New York-based developers the Bayrock Group LLC and the Sapir Organization.
‘We are permitted and there’s simply no problem,’ said Julius Schwarz, executive vice president of the Bayrock Group.
Although just 11 stories of the building have gone up so far, principals of the three companies held a red-carpet news conference at the construction site Wednesday to drum up interest.
‘We are very excited to be here to officially as of today begin to process the enormous volume of calls we have been receiving,’ said Trump’s daughter, Ivanka.
Units at the Trump SoHo will range from 422-square-foot studios to a ‘presidential suite’ taking up the three top floors.
Schwarz said prices would start at $3,000 a square foot.
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