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Trump's net worth rises to $3 billion despite business setbacks

Shahien Nasiripour and Caleb Melby, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

NEW YORK -- President Donald Trump's net worth rose to $3 billion, a 5% gain over the past year, thanks to a jump in the value of an office-building deal he once sued to prevent.

The increase in Trump's wealth reverses two years of declines and brings his net worth back to 2016 levels, according to figures compiled by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index from lenders, property records, securities filings, market data and a May 16 financial disclosure. It comes despite setbacks at his family company, including the cancellation of two new hotel chains and reduced business at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and seven golf courses.

Trump's higher net worth shows how reliant his wealth has become on Steven Roth, a friend who leads Vornado Realty Trust. Trump's 30% stake in two Vornado properties -- 1290 Ave. of the Americas, a 2.1-million-square-foot tower in midtown Manhattan, and 555 California St., a 1.8-million-square-foot office complex known as the Bank of America Center in San Francisco's financial district -- accounts for a quarter of his fortune. His partnership with Vornado, which owns the remaining 70%, resulted from a chain of real estate transactions that Trump once sued to block.

Accepting the deal has proven lucrative. Over the past year, Trump's stake in the two properties has surged to $765 million, a 33% increase from the previous year, thanks to falling office capitalization rates and a boost in net income. A drop in marketwide capitalization rates, which track property prices against the net income they produce, can indicate increasing demand, raising valuations.

Trump's stake in the Vornado buildings eclipses the combined value of his golf courses and resorts to become his biggest source of wealth. The value of the golf courses and clubs fell 19% to $525 million as the industry grappled with falling demand.

The president's financial disclosures, which provide revenues and the value of assets in broad ranges and aren't definitive figures, offer a glimpse into his personal wealth. He manages his fortune through dozens of businesses that collectively form the Trump Organization. Before he took office, Trump placed his holdings in a revocable trust that's for his exclusive benefit and is overseen by his two adult sons and longtime Trump Organization bookkeeper Allen Weisselberg. Amanda Miller, a company spokeswoman, and Alan Garten, its chief lawyer, didn't respond to messages seeking comment. Neither did the White House press office.

 

The value of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, which has become a hangout for Republicans and favor-seekers, was little changed. Revenue rose 1% to $41 million, according to the president's financial disclosure. But the value of the hotel fell 5% to $95 million as multiples for comparable properties declined.

Trump's office buildings, though, continued to appreciate. Trump Tower, which has experienced lower demand for its Fifth Avenue office and residential units, is now worth $445 million, 27% more than last year. In addition to falling capitalization rates, it had higher net operating income in 2018 than the previous year and is on one of New York's most valuable strips of land. It's protected from decreases in the value of the condos because they're now owned by others.

The value of 40 Wall St., Trump's office tower in Manhattan's financial district, increased by 13% to $480 million as the market improved.

Office buildings have been among the biggest beneficiaries of the increase in asset prices that followed Trump's 2016 election. Years of easy financing and low supply boosted the value of buildings in sought-after cities throughout the country. Trump's office properties, including his stakes in the Vornado buildings, appreciated by $340 million over the past year.

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