Inside Trump Tower, the $300 million 'testament of Mr. Trump's grand vision' that is now reportedly one of New York's least-desirable luxury buildings
Ellen Cranley,Ellen CranleyMay 21, 2019, 18:00 IST
Trump Tower stands on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on August 24, 2018 in New York City. Following new allegations over hush money that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen paid to an adult-film actress, the Manhattan district attorneyõs office in New York City may seek criminal charges against the Trump Organization in the coming days.Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Trump Tower was once the crown jewel of President Donald Trump's real-estate ambitions in New York City.
The tower cemented Trump's name on the southeast corner of the city's famed Central Park along Manhattan's iconic Fifth Avenue.
The tower was once known as a glamorous icon of the city's skyline that earned Trump $300 million in condo sales and housed celebrities. But in the last few years, it has become more closely associated with federal investigations into Trump's campaign and fiery protests.
Last week, Bloomberg reported that the tension has taken its toll on the tower, as it's struggling to hold on to its tenants. See inside the tower's amenities for its visitors, public and high-profile alike.
Trump Tower is a skyscraper on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
The tower was completed in 1984 after Trump, then a rising real estate mogul, replaced an 11-story building, vowing to build the city's first super-luxury high-rise property with high-end retail shops, offices, and residences.
Though the building was advertised to be 68 floors, city records show it is only 58. Trump counted the lobby and shops as 10 extra floors, starting the residential units on what he called the 30th floor.
Trump himself took up residence in the building, conducting business for the Trump Organization on the 26th floor.
He reportedly had a private elevator that could whisk him from his office to the penthouse he shared with his young family.
The building was one of the earliest monuments to Trump's desire for a massive real estate empire, which would be followed by numerous hotels and golf courses that bore his name.
Since then, the tower's shops have become active monuments to Trump's brand, offering food and merchandise under the famous last name.
All visitors who want to stop by and enjoy the building's lower floors must go through security after entering from Fifth Avenue before going into the lobby.
During the presidential transition in late 2016 when Trump was still living at the tower, media crews and fans regularly staked out the marble lobby to spot potential staffers and business titans meeting with the president-elect.
The building's several bottom floors house shops and office spaces.
After clearing security, tourists looking for a souvenir to remember their visit can easily access a wide variety of gifts in the Trump Store.
An Ivanka Trump brand store had jewelry and accessories for sale in a store in the building's lobby before closing in June 2018. The space now houses a general Trump-brand shop.
A Starbucks on the second floor above the lobby is also open to the public.
Despite controversies like Trump threatening the shop's lease over its holiday edition cups, the location is one of the most popular in the city.
Visitors can also dine at the infamous Trump Grill that has been at the center of a few scathing reviews since Trump became president.
Business Insider previously reported that the harsh reviews of the grill (or grille — the naming is inconsistent on signage) were spot-on, from the nearly $20 cocktails to Trump's infamous taco bowl.
High above the space that welcomes public visitors, condominiums fill floors 30 to 68 in the tower.
The Trump family owns a rarely seen penthouse that takes up the top three floors. It's one of several units the president has owned in his namesake high-rise building over the years.
The first lady has hosted two Fox News interviews in the penthouse. In one, she walked with host Greta van Susteren past a massive white piano. Gold accents are prominent.
As seen in an October 2016 tour, the penthouse has a clear view of Central Park and some neighboring skyscrapers.
The first lady said living in the apartment was "amazing," and the lavish decoration was in-line with her taste.
In addition to the home's grand flourishes, Melania showed off a table full of photos of family and friends that add a personal touch to the penthouse.
Though the penthouse is still kept relatively private, Trump has used the residence for business, including when he hosted Japanese Prime Minister for a "wonderful" dinner to discuss the two countries' relationship.
In January 2016, Melania Trump bought a 1,052 square-foot condominium on the 33rd floor for $1.49 million.
The apartment seems to follow the same layout as all of the building's H units.
It's not clear why she bought the unit, which is one of the smaller spaces in the tower, and especially since she's taken up permanent residence in Washington, DC, it remains a mystery.
But the Trumps aren't the only big name in the building. Celebrities who have called Trump Tower home include Bruce Willis, Michael Jackson, Johnny Carson, and Paul Anka.
For a steep price, those interested in the city's housing market could own a slice of the iconic address. A "cavernous" duplex unit on the 64th and 65th floors is currently listed for $24.5 million.
The apartment boasts stunning panoramic views of the city's skyline, as it takes up the entire southern face of the building.
The five bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, and 11 rooms in the 6,144-square-foot apartment dwarf most New Yorkers' spaces, which are 723 square feet on average.
Since Trump's election, the building has become a target for fiery protests and is surrounded by iron gates and armed security, which has reportedly taken a toll on the tower's profits from tenants.
Despite the building's glamorous origins, a May 2019 report said the building's occupancy rate has plunged over the last seven years to 83% from 99%, giving it a vacancy rate that's about twice Manhattan's average.
Despite its troubles, the building still stands tall with Trump's name all over it, offering the president a deeply personal home when he's in the city.