Ivana Trump’s NYC Townhouse, Decked Out in Gold and Animal Print, Asks $26.5 Million | Kanebridge News
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Ivana Trump’s NYC Townhouse, Decked Out in Gold and Animal Print, Asks $26.5 Million

Ms. Trump bought the five-storey, 20-foot-wide property the same year her divorce was finalized from former President Donald Trump

Tue, Nov 15, 2022 9:07amGrey Clock 5 min

Stepping into Ivana Trump‘s Manhattan townhouse, with its limestone facade and embellished gold entryway, is like stepping back in time to the 1980s, when the late socialite and her ex-husband, former President Donald Trump, were the ultimate power couple. The home’s décor—leopard print, pink marble, crystal chandeliers and lots and lots of gold—is reflective of the glamorous, over-the-top aesthetic that helped define that era and the Trump real-estate portfolio.

“My mom absolutely loved that house,” said their son Eric Trump, noting that it reflected her “style and elegance.” The opulence, he said, “embodied Ivana Trump.”

Ms. Trump’s estate is now putting the property on the market for $26.5 million following her death earlier this year, Eric Trump said. Ms. Trump was found dead at the home in July. The proceeds of the sale are slated to go to her three children: Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump.

Ms. Trump purchased the townhouse for about $2.5 million in 1992, the same year her divorce from Donald Trump was finalised, records show. While Ms. Trump also had homes in Florida and France, Eric Trump said the New York property was especially important to her. “She was so comfortable there,” he said. “It was the last possession in the world she would ever have gotten rid of.”

On a recent Tuesday, Ms. Trump’s tiny Yorkshire terrier, Tiger, greeted visitors at the door of the roughly 8,725-square-foot townhouse, which is located between Fifth and Madison avenues. Since Ms. Trump’s death Tiger has remained in the house with Ms. Trump’s longtime assistant, to whom he is attached, Eric Trump said.

The entrance hall has blood-red carpets, upholstered fabric walls in red and gold, lashings of pink marble, a crystal chandelier and a Romanesque statue. The upper floors are accessed by an old-fashioned birdcage elevator and a red-carpeted, curved marble staircase with a painted mural.

Ivana Trump’s Townhouse during Exclusive Photo Shoot with Ivana Trump – September 27, 1994 at Ivana’s Townhouse in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

In her 2017 book, “Raising Trump,” Ms. Trump described her design style as “luxurious” and “whimsical.” When she bought the house, she wrote, it needed significant work. No one had lived there for about 12 years, and the property’s last incarnation had been as a dentist’s office, with many small rooms.

The second floor now has two formal entertaining areas. At the front is a living room heavily upholstered in shades of red and green, with a pleated gold fabric ceiling and velvet chairs. The space is decorated with ornate figurines and other collectibles, such as clocks and silver jewellery boxes. In her book, Ms. Trump described the room as “how Louis XVI would have lived if he had had money.”

The dining room has walls covered in gold fabric and a chandelier hanging above. Two tables, one round and one long and rectangular, have tall-backed chairs upholstered in golden yellow. Eric Trump said the furniture could be negotiated with the sale of the property, should a buyer be interested.

In between the two rooms stands a white grand piano. While Ms. Trump never played piano herself, she wrote, she had professional pianists come to entertain guests at parties. Eric Trump said his sister also played the piano.

On the third floor, there is a library outfitted almost entirely in leopard print, with spotted wallpaper and upholstery. On the walls hang a painting of two leopards playing and a framed photograph of Ms. Trump embracing a young Ivanka. Where there isn’t animal print, there’s gold. On the sofa rests a doll modelled after Ms. Trump, with blond hair, an embellished silver jacket and a fur stole.

​The primary bedroom embodies Ms. Trump’s self-described whimsical aesthetic. The colour palette is muted pinks, greens and gold. A canopy bed sits in front of a gold-embossed fireplace. On the walls are Chinese-style murals. The en-suite bathroom is a burst of Pepto Bismol-pink, from the marble floors to the double sinks to the bathtub to the cabinets and the walls. The faucets and hardware provide accents of gold. Then, there’s the closet. In her book, Ms. Trump described it as so large that it seems to go “on, and on, and on.”

“I call it Indochine, because by the time you get to the end of it, you might as well be in another continent,” she wrote.

In the rear of the house, there is a south-facing garden and a terrace off the primary bedroom, which gets plenty of light in the midmorning and early afternoon.

“She used to go out on the private balcony every morning with coffee and she’d read the paper,” Eric Trump said.

Eric Trump said he and his siblings lived in the house during their teenage years. He has happy memories of the family chatting around the dining room table and of his mother’s parties, which at times included famous actors and even royalty, he said.

At one point, Ms. Trump converted Donald Trump Jr.’s former bedroom into a gym. From there, she could see into the house across the street, where fashion designer Donatella Versace lived, Eric Trump said. She would wave to Ms. Versace from the treadmill. “They loved each other,” he said.

The five-story, 20-foot-wide house is currently configured with five bedrooms, but could be redesigned to accommodate more, according to the listing agents, Adam Modlin of Modlin Group and Roger Erickson of Douglas Elliman. Two of the floors are currently split into several rooms, but those spaces could be combined to take advantage of the full width of the townhouse, the agents said.

The one conspicuously absent amenity: a full-size kitchen. There are two small, galley-style kitchens, one off the dining room on the second floor and another by a study on the garden level. Ms. Trump, by her own admission, didn’t cook much in her later years. The agents said a buyer could likely build a larger kitchen on the garden level.

The agents said most prospective buyers will want to do a significant renovation. Eric Trump said his mother once had plans drawn up to construct a pool in the basement, which already includes a sauna, but changed her mind.

The block is one of the city’s most illustrious, according to the listing agents. In addition to the Versace mansion, now owned by hedge funder Thomas Sandell and his wife Ximena Sandell, the street has drawn big names like billionaire Len Blavatnik and record mogul Tommy Mottola, according to public records and people familiar with the properties.

“It’s like being between Boardwalk and Park Place on a Monopoly board,” Mr. Modlin said.

The Trump property comes on the market as New York’s townhouse market revs up. In recent months, a series of major Upper East Side townhouse deals have closed, despite what agents say is a cooling market for luxury homes across the country. They include the $50 million sale of a Beaux-Arts mansion that was owned by the Permanent Mission of Serbia to the United Nations, and the $48 million sale of real-estate investor Keith Rubenstein’s townhouse.

Ms. Trump, a onetime model, hailed from the former Czechoslovakia. While married to Mr. Trump, she took on several roles at the Trump Organization, including vice president of interior design. She also supervised construction and design of Trump Tower and the Trump Plaza Hotel. Later, she had her own fashion line.

“She wasn’t a, ‘Let’s throw on a pair of sweatpants,’ kind of person,” Eric Trump said. “She believed in looking good.”


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Mon, Jan 30, 2023 7 min

A new trading year kicked off just weeks ago. Already it bears little resemblance to the carnage of 2022.

After languishing throughout last year, growth stocks have zoomed higher. Tesla Inc. and Nvidia Corp., for example, have jumped more than 30%. The outlook for bonds is brightening after a historic rout. Even bitcoin has rallied, despite ongoing effects from the collapse of the crypto exchange FTX.

The rebound has been driven by renewed optimism about the global economic outlook. Investors have embraced signs that inflation has peaked in the U.S. and abroad. Many are hoping that next week the Federal Reserve will slow its pace of interest-rate increases yet again. China’s lifting of Covid-19 restrictions pleasantly surprised many traders who have welcomed the move as a sign that more growth is ahead.

Still, risks loom large. Many investors aren’t convinced that the rebound is sustainable. Some are worried about stretched stock valuations, or whether corporate earnings will face more pain down the road. Others are fretting that markets aren’t fully pricing in the possibility of a recession, or what might happen if the Fed continues to fight inflation longer than currently anticipated.

We asked five investors to share how they are positioning for that uncertainty and where they think markets could be headed next. Here is what they said:

‘Animal spirits’ could return

Cliff Asness, founder of AQR Capital Management, acknowledges that he wasn’t expecting the run in speculative stocks and digital currencies that has swept markets to kick off 2023.

Bitcoin prices have jumped around 40%. Some of the stocks that are the most heavily bet against on Wall Street are sitting on double-digit gains. Carvana Co. has soared nearly 64%, while MicroStrategy Inc. has surged more than 80%. Cathie Wood‘s ARK Innovation ETF has gained about 29%.

If the past few years have taught Mr. Asness anything, it is to be prepared for such run-ups to last much longer than expected. His lesson from the euphoria regarding risky trades in 2020 and 2021? Don’t count out the chance that the frenzy will return again, he said.

“It could be that there are still these crazy animal spirits out there,” Mr. Asness said.

Still, he said that hasn’t changed his conviction that cheaper stocks in the market, known as value stocks, are bound to keep soaring past their peers. There might be short spurts of outperformance for more-expensive slices of the market, as seen in January. But over the long term, he is sticking to his bet that value stocks will beat growth stocks. He is expecting a volatile, but profitable, stretch for the trade.

“I love the value trade,” Mr. Asness said. “We sing about it to our clients.”

—Gunjan Banerji

Keeping dollar’s moves in focus

For Richard Benson, co-chief investment officer of Millennium Global Investments Ltd., no single trade was more important last year than the blistering rise of the U.S. dollar.

Once a relatively placid area of markets following the 2008 financial crisis, currencies have found renewed focus from Wall Street and Main Street. Last year the dollar’s unrelenting rise dented multinational companies’ profits, exacerbated inflation for countries that import American goods and repeatedly surprised some traders who believed the greenback couldn’t keep rallying so fast.

The factors that spurred the dollar’s rise are now contributing to its fall. Ebbing inflation and expectations of slower interest-rate increases from the Fed have sent the dollar down 1.7% this year, as measured by the WSJ Dollar Index.

Mr. Benson is betting more pain for the dollar is ahead and sees the greenback weakening between 3% and 5% over the next three to six months.

“When the biggest central bank in the world is on the move, look at everything through their lens and don’t get distracted,” said Mr. Benson of the London-based currency fund manager, regarding the Fed.

This year Mr. Benson expects the dollar’s fall to ripple similarly far and wide across global economies and markets.

“I don’t see many people complaining about a weaker dollar” over the next few months, he said. “If the dollar is falling, that economic setup should also mean that tech stocks should do quite well.”

Mr. Benson said he expects the dollar’s fall to brighten the outlook for some emerging- market assets, and he is betting on China’s offshore yuan as the country’s economy reopens. He sees the euro strengthening versus the dollar if the eurozone’s economy continues to fare better than expected.

—Caitlin McCabe

Stocks still appear overvalued

Even after the S&P 500 fell 15% from its record high reached in January 2022, U.S. stocks still look expensive, said Rupal Bhansali, chief investment officer of Ariel Investments, who oversees $6.7 billion in assets.

Of course, the market doesn’t appear as frothy as it did for much of 2020 and 2021, but she said she expects a steeper correction in prices ahead.

The broad stock-market gauge recently traded at 17.9 times its projected earnings over the next 12 months, according to FactSet. That is below the high of around 24 hit in late 2020, but above the historical average over the past 20 years of 15.7, FactSet data show.

“The old habit was buy the dip,” Ms. Bhansali said. “The new habit should be sell the rip.”

One reason Ms. Bhansali said the selloff might not be over yet? The market is still underestimating the Fed.

Investors repeatedly mispriced how fast the Fed would move in 2022, wrongly expecting the central bank to ease up on its rate increases. They were caught off guard by Fed Chair Jerome Powell‘s aggressive messages on interest rates. It stoked steep selloffs in the stock market, leading to the most turbulent year since the 2008 financial crisis. Now investors are making the same mistake again, Ms. Bhansali said.

Current stock valuations don’t reflect the big shift coming in central-bank policy, which she thinks will have to be more aggressive than many expect. Though broader measures of inflation have been falling, some slices, such as services inflation, have proved stickier. Ms. Bhansali is positioning for such areas as healthcare, which she thinks would be more insulated from a recession than the rest of the market, to outperform.

“The Fed is determined to win the war since they lost the battle,” Ms. Bhansali said.

—Gunjan Banerji

A better year for bonds seen

Gone are the days when tumbling bond yields left investors with few alternatives to stocks. Finally, bonds are back, according to Niall O’Sullivan of Neuberger Berman, an investment manager overseeing about $427 billion in client assets at the end of 2022.

After a turbulent year for the fixed-income market in 2022, bonds have kicked off the new year on a more promising note. The Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index—composed largely of U.S. Treasurys, highly rated corporate bonds and mortgage-backed securities—climbed 3% so far this year on a total return basis through Thursday’s close. That is the index’s best start to a year since it began in 1989, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Mr. O’Sullivan, the chief investment officer of multi asset strategies for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Neuberger Berman, said the single biggest conversation he is currently having with clients is how to increase fixed-income exposure.

“Strategically, the facts have changed. When you look at fixed income as an asset class…they’re now all providing yield, and possibly even more importantly, actual cash coupons of a meaningful size,” he said. “That is a very different world to the one we’ve been in for quite a long time.”

Mr. O’Sullivan said it is important to reconsider how much of an advantage stocks now hold over bonds, given what he believes are looming risks for the stock market. He predicts that inflation will be harder to wrangle than investors currently anticipate and that the Fed will hold its peak interest rate steady for longer than is currently expected. Even more worrying, he said, it will be harder for companies to continue passing on price increases to consumers, which means earnings could see bigger hits in the future.

“That is why we are wary on the equity side,” he said.

Among the products that Mr. O’Sullivan said he favours in the fixed-income space are higher-quality and shorter-term bonds. Still, he added, it is important for investors to find portfolio diversity outside bonds this year. For that, he said he views commodities as attractive, specifically metals such as copper, which could continue to benefit from China’s reopening.

—Caitlin McCabe


Find the fear, and find the value

Ramona Persaud, a portfolio manager at Fidelity Investments, said she can still identify bargains in a pricey market by looking in less-sanguine places. Find the fear, and find the value, she said.

“When fear really rises, you can buy some very well-run businesses,” she said.

Take Taiwan’s semiconductor companies. Concern over global trade and tensions with China have weighed on the shares of chip makers based on the island. But those fears have led many investors to overlook the competitive advantages those companies hold over rivals, she said.

“That is a good setup,” said Ms. Persaud, who considers herself a conservative value investor and manages more than $20 billion across several U.S. and Canadian funds.

The S&P 500 is trading above fair value, she said, which means “there just isn’t widespread opportunity,” and investors might be underestimating some of the risks that lie in waiting.

“That tells me the market is optimistic,” said Ms. Persaud. “That would be OK if the risks were not exogenous.”

Those challenges, whether rising interest rates and Fed policy or Russia’s war in Ukraine and concern over energy-security concerns in Europe, are complicated, and in many cases, interrelated.

It isn’t all bad news, she said. China ended its zero-Covid restrictions. A milder winter in Europe has blunted the effects of the war in Ukraine on energy prices and helped the continent sidestep recession, and inflation is slowing.

“These are reasons the market is so happy,” she said.

—Justin Baer

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