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International Herald Tribune, France, March 5, 2009


All is rosy in Panama City, Ivanka Trump says

There must be something in Trump blood that allows members of the clan to speak non-stop in robot-like promotional platitudes. In a recent interview with Latin Business Chronicle, stern-faced Ivanka Trump displays the family talent, praising Panama City as “one of the strongest, if not the strongest, real estate market” in the world.

Ivanka Trump
Ivanka Trump

The baby Trump’s goal was to hype the Trump Ocean Club, the closely-watched 70-story tower on the bay, scheduled to open next year. The Panama City condo market has been battered by over-building and failed projects, and Fitch recently downgraded the Ocean Club developer’s bond rating, citing the possibility that some of the buyers may walk away from their deposits.

But all is rosy in Trump world. “Given the global downturn, the fact that sales remain so robust is a testament to the product, the brand and Panama,” said Ivanka, the Trump Organization’s “executive vice president of development and acquisitions” (and part-time jewelry designer). “Our biggest problem is not having enough inventory. We only have a small percent of the building left.”

Trump Ocean Club
Trump Ocean Club

And forget charges of corruption and questionable development policies in Panama, according to Ivanka the government is a welcoming, unifying force, offering tax incentives that are “incredibly luring to international [investors], especially as we in America are being taxed to the hilt.”

Panama, it turns out, has “a great government that really supports developers,” she said with the type of sincerity made famous by her Dad, the Donald. “I’m impressed with their forward thinking in bringing in new potential residents. I’m in New York and see [ads that say] ‘Escape to Panama.’ I never saw that five years ago.”

The reporter apparently didn’t press her on specifics about today’s volatile market, but Trump did say buyers in the Ocean Club have been “a mix of American, Canadian and Latin Americans,” as well as “[a] lot of baby boomers priced out of South Florida.”

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