Ivana Trump’s NYC Townhouse, Decked Out in Gold and Animal Print, Asks $26.5 Million
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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.”


Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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Car Dealers on Why Some Customers Hesitate With EVs

Concern about electric vehicles’ appeal is mounting as some customers show a reluctance to switch

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Auto dealers across many parts of the country say electric vehicles are becoming too hard a sell for buyers worried about the range, reliability and price of these models.

When Paul LaRochelle heard Ford Motor was coming out with an electric pickup truck, the dealer was excited about the prospects for his business.

“We thought we could build a million of them and sell them,” said LaRochelle, a vice president at Sheehy Auto Stores, which sells vehicles from a dozen brands in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

The reality has been less positive. On Sheehy’s car lots, LaRochelle says there is a six- to 12-month supply of EVs, compared with a month of gasoline-powered vehicles.

With automakers set to release a barrage of new electric models in the coming years, concerns are mounting among auto retailers about whether the technology will have broader appeal given that many customers are still reluctant to make the switch.

Battery-powered models have been piling up on car lotsdealers say, as EV sales growth has slowed in the U.S. this year. Car companies have been offering a combination of discounts and lower interest-rate deals in an effort to juice demand. But it hasn’t been enough, because buyer reticence extends beyond the price tag, dealers say.

“I’m not hearing the consumer confidence in the technology,” said Mary Rice, dealer principal at Toyota of Greensboro in North Carolina. “People aren’t beating down the door to buy these things, and they all have a different excuse why they aren’t buying one.”

Customers cite concerns about vehicles burning through a battery charge faster in cold weather or not being able to travel as far as they expected on a single charge, dealers say. Potential buyers also worry that chargers aren’t as readily accessible as gas stations or might be broken.

Franchise dealerships fear that the push to roll out new models will inundate them with hard-to-sell vehicles. Research firm S&P Global Mobility said there are 56 EV models for sale in the U.S. this year, and the number is expected to nearly double to 100 next year.

“I start to think, you know maybe we should just all pump the brakes a little bit,” Rice said.

A group of dealers expressed their concerns about the government’s role in pushing electric vehicles in a letter last month to President Biden.

A Toyota Motor spokesman said the majority of dealers have become “increasingly more confident in their ability to sell Toyota EV products.”

At Ford, the company’s electric-vehicle sales are rising, including for its F-150 Lightning pickup, but demand isn’t evenly spread across the country, according to a spokesman.

Dealers say that after selling an EV, they sometimes hear complaints about charging and the vehicles not always meeting their advertised range. In some cases, customers seek to return them to the dealer shortly after buying them.

“We have a steady number of clients that have attempted to or flat out returned their car,” said Sheehy’s LaRochelle.

While EVs remain a small but rapidly expanding part of the new-car market, the pace of growth has slowed this year. Electric-vehicle sales increased 48% in the first 11 months, compared with a 69% jump during the same period in 2022, according to Motor Intelligence. Sales remain concentrated in a few states, with California accounting for the largest chunk, S&P Global Mobility data found.

The cooling growth has raised broader questions in the industry about whether car companies face a temporary hurdle or a longer-term demand challenge. Automakers have invested billions of dollars to bring more EV models to the market, and many analysts and car executives say they remain optimistic that sales will continue to expand.

“Although the rate of growth has slowed recently, EV demand is clearly moving in the right direction,” said General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra on a recent conference call with analysts. A combination of more affordable model options and better charging infrastructure would help encourage more people to buy electric vehicles, she said.

There are also varying views within the dealer community about how quickly buyers will adopt the technology.In hot spots for electric-vehicle demand, such as Los Angeles, dealers say their battery-powered models are some of their top sellers. Those popular EV markets also tend to have more mature public charging networks.

Selling an electric car or truck outside of those demand centres is proving more difficult.

Longtime EV owner Carmella Roehrig thought she was ready to go full-electric and sold her backup gasoline vehicle. But after the 62-year-old North Carolina resident found herself stranded last year in a rural area of South Carolina, she changed her mind. Roehrig’s Tesla Model S got a flat tire, but none of the stores in the area carried tires for a Tesla. She ended up paying a worker at a nearby shop to drive her home.

Roehrig still has her Tesla but bought a pickup truck for long road trips.

Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment.

“I have these conversations with people who say we’ll all be in EVs in 15 years. I say: ‘I’m not so sure. I’ve tried to do it,’” Roehrig said. “I think you need a gas backup.”

Customers who want to ditch their gas vehicle for environmental reasons are sometimes hesitant, said Mickey Anderson, president of Baxter Auto Group, which owns dealerships in Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado.

“We’re in the Colorado Springs market. If this is your sole mode of transportation, and you’re in a market in extremes of elevation and temperature, the actual range is very limited,” Anderson said. “It makes it extremely impractical.”

Dealers representing around 4,000 stores across the U.S. signed the letter in November addressed to Biden, saying the administration’s proposed auto-emissions regulations designed to promote electric-vehicle sales are unrealistic. The signatories ranged from stores owned by family businesses to publicly held giants such as AutoNation and Lithia Motors.

“Some customers are in the market for electric vehicles, and we are thrilled to sell them. But the majority of customers are simply not ready to make the change,” the letter said.

Some carmakers are pushing back EV-rollout plans. GM said in mid-October that it would delay the opening of an electric pickup plant by a year to late 2025. In response to weaker-than-expected consumer demand, Ford said in late October that it would defer $12 billion of planned spending on electric-vehicle investment.

Since September, dealers on average took more than two months to sell an EV, compared with 40 days for all vehicles, according to car-shopping website Edmunds.

While discounts have helped boost sales of some electric vehicles, they also have led to repercussions for some current owners because it reduces the value of their vehicles, dealers say.

“Most people don’t have the confidence to buy an EV and know what it will be worth in 10-15 years,” said Rice from the Toyota dealership.

It may take some time for the industry to adjust because it is still in an early stage of switching to electric vehicles, Sheehy’s LaRochelle said.

“We’re asking for this market to grow organically,” he said.


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