Trump’s Miami Condo Man Can’t Wait to Cash in Big on Electionby
Betting the brand will sell better than ever as others boycott
"It’s nice to be able to say my partner is president-elect"
Let the haters hate. Gil Dezer is ready to capitalize on the Donald Trump victory.
The developer has asked designers to come up with a new “out of the movies” room at the Trump International Beach Resort, a hotel in Sunny Isles Beach, a little city on a barrier reef 19 miles from downtown Miami.
Dezer, who with his father helped build six South Florida properties in partnerships with the Trump Organization, declined to offer details, saying only that the plan is for a “crazy, kick-ass Trump presidential suite” that can tap the marketing power of the next occupant of the White House.
“It’s nice to be able to say my partner is the president-elect,” Dezer said, dissing Macy’s Inc. and others that dumped Trump-name products after the then-candidate made incendiary remarks about Mexican immigrants being rapists. “Those guys must be kicking themselves in the ass now.”
Maybe, but others are still at it. Embarrassed renters in the Trump Place complex in Manhattan successfully petitioned to have the buildings renamed for their street addresses. Posters on social media are using #GrabYourWallet to circulate lists of businesses that endorsed Trump or have ties to his company, and to advocate boycotts; the hashtag is a play on what he said about grabbing women by the genitals in an audiotape that surfaced in October.
Trump supporters are distributing guides of their own, with Macy’s, PepsiCo Inc. and Oreo cookies among those in their bulls-eyes -- Pepsi because Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi said Trump’s campaign rhetoric had made some Americans feel uncomfortable and that she was disgusted by how he talked about women, and Oreos because its parent moved a production line to Mexico from Chicago. Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren said after the election that he stood by his decision last year to drop Trump’s clothing line.
Is Dezer laying his bet in the right direction? Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but her Republican rival aced the Electoral College. “It’s an open question over next four years whether the impact of the Trump brand on commercial products will be a net positive or net negative,” said Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, associate professor of law at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida.
Of course, folks who drop thousands a night on a penthouse hotel room may not much care one way or other about the name stamped on the key card. That class of traveler is “a different market,” said Daniel A. Smith, a political science professor at the University of Florida in Miami. Among some groups, though, “the Trump brand is arguably stronger than it ever has been.”
Dezer, whose family fortune the Bloomberg Billionaires Index puts at $1.2 billion, will be pitching his new suite to them, and gloating. Those that distanced themselves from Trump “did a knee-jerk reaction when they could have been having a business model going on with the president.”
The Trump International is part of a collection of three buildings in Sunny Isles Beach, including Trump Palace, where Dezer lives. He and his father, Michael Dezer, developed the hotel, and pay for the rights to use the name.
And with opportunity comes a potential cost. “I’m expecting a price hike,” Dezer said, figuring the value of “Trump” attached to anything salable will shoot up and that the president-elect’s company will charge accordingly. He’s not complaining. “We love the brand, and now it’s worth that much more.”