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Trumps celebrate towering achievement
By Deborah Donovan | Daily Herald Staff

A view from the roof of the Trump International Hotel and Tower of Lake Michigan, right, the McCormick Building, center, and the unfinished 90th floor of the 92-story tower, after Donald Trump hosted topping off festivities in Chicago Wednesday.

 

Associated Press

Real estate developer Donald Trump, left, waits to be announced with his children, from left, Eric, Ivanka, and Donald Jr., during topping off festivities for the 92-story Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago Wednesday.

 

Associated Press

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Published: 9/25/2008 12:06 AM

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It's easier to be a celebrity in Chicago than New York, according to Don Trump Jr., who Wednesday joined siblings Ivanka and Eric and their more famous father in celebrating the topping off of Chicago's version of Trump tower on Michigan Avenue.

If he wears jeans and a T-shirt and goes out with friends in Chicago, he can usually be anonymous, Don says.

Even though New York has a higher concentration of celebrities, courteous Midwest folks who do recognize him often leave him alone, he says.

And could Trump's edifice be trumped by competition from that taller, twisty architectural marvel, the Spire, planned for not far away on the shores of Lake Michigan?

It's no competition because it will never be built, the younger Trump spouts in a short interview.

His father agrees, echoing that sentiment at a news conference to promote Trump International Hotel & Tower.

"The advantage we have is this building is built, and other buildings are not going to happen. The banks are out of money," says Donald Trump.

A month ago he sold an estate in Palm Beach, Fla., for almost $100 million, and he is not sure the Russian buyer would have made the purchase today.

He says the proposed $700 billion U.S. government rescue of Wall Street firms is "probably necessary" though "nobody has any idea what's going to happen once it's approved." Still, he says it might stave off the depression he predicted two years ago.

The Trump tower is 92 stories, not including a decorative spire that will be added in about a month. The building is 75 percent sold, and condominium occupancy has started. The remaining condominiums are priced from $580,000 for a studio with no water views to more than $9 million for the remaining half-floor penthouse. There will be 486 condominiums and 339 hotel condominiums.

The building is the tallest built in the United States since Chicago's Sears Tower more than 30 years ago.

Two condominiums with the tower's signature views of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan and lots of granite and marble show 2,100 square feet each with price tags from $2.3 million. A smaller home with 1,042 square feet and only a vague lake view on clear days is $1 million.

Don Trump Jr. says the tower and city life attract suburbanites.

"From a convenience standpoint - work, culture, eating and entertainment - no suburbs offer anywhere in this country what cities can," he says.