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Guess who thinks Mumbai's real estate prices are low!!!

Last updated on: August 13, 2014 13:24 IST

Guess who thinks Mumbai's real estate prices are low!!!

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Vaihayasi Pande Daniel/Rediff.com in Mumbai

'One of the reasons I like Mumbai is because I find your prices unbelievably low. In other places I find them unreasonably high,' Donald Trump declared.

The Trump family stormed Mumbai, when Donald Trump, 68, Donald Trump Jr, 36, and flew in, probably on their private jet, on Tuesday morning from New York -- where they have put up more than five glamorous buildings and hotels -- to announce their plans to put up India's first Trump Tower in Worli, central Mumbai, referred to in the press conference hype as a 'golden tower'.

The 'momentous' announcement was made at the Four Seasons hotel, which is hardly a few furlongs from the proposed site, where the media waited with bated breath for the flamboyant real estate giant to walk the red carpet laid out for him.

The Donald arrived, almost like some head of State, ringed by black-uniformed security, including a hugely mustachioed bodyguard with a bright red turban and was greeted by a battery of cameras.

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Image: Donald Trump speaks at the press conference in Mumbai.
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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Donald Trump and his son, along with Abhishek Lodha, managing director of the Lodha construction group, with whom the Trumps have tied up, unveiled the three-foot-high letters -- Trump Tower -- standing on the ground in front of them, to signify the start of the project, to the dramatic sound of bugles and drums.

Showiness is Trump’s middle name. The head of the Trump Organisation and Trump Entrainment Resorts, the American business mogul, who had a role in the television reality show The Apprentice, has always been a magnet for attention for his over-the-top lifestyle and dramatic antics -- like when announced that he would like to run for the US president in 2012, or appeared in films parodying himself (for which he has been twice nominated for Emmys), bought the Miss Universe Organisation plus a slew of casinos, acted as boxer Mike Tyson’s financial guru, wrote 18 books (including a novel) and lent his name to everything from ice cream to perfume, vodka, ties, chocolate and steaks (according to Wikipedia and trump.com).

Trump senior and junior, in suits and not-so-interesting striped ties, seated in raring-to-go-mode on high stools on the stage spoke mostly in gushing superlatives.

"Spectacular", "Great", "Exciting", "Terrific", "Fantastic", "Incredible" found their way over and over again into every sentence describing their enthusiasm with Mumbai and the tower about to come up.

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Image: Donald Trump, Abhishek Lodha and Donald Trump Jr announce the launch of the Trump Tower in Mumbai.
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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Destined to be a 75-floor skyscraper with 'spectacular views, floor-to-ceiling windows, high ceilings, solar heating, rain water harvesting, ventilators, private gyms, pools and lounges,' the apartments will sell for as high as $3.5 million each, Trump said.

"Super luxury; highest end of luxury; best location, magnificent building, top of the line in terms of all of the amenities."

And even though the show apartment is not ready, 100 units had been sold sight unseen. That leads Trump to believe that the Mumbai project will be a very profitable investment indeed. "It is doing really, really well, far beyond what we even thought."

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Image: The Trump Tower will be a 75-floor skyscraper.
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
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"Mumbai has tremendous energy," America's King of Hype felt, "tremendous energy. The vibrance of the people and it is all about the people. A city -- a great city, a great country -- it is all about the people."

"Mumbai's real estate prices were very low," the Trump said (gasp, gulp). "One of the reasons I like Mumbai is because I find your prices unbelievably low. In other places I find them unreasonably high. You look at New York pricing or pricing at other locations and, frankly, in cities that aren't as good as Mumbai, and aren't as important as Mumbai and countries that aren't as important as India and prices, on a square foot basis, are so much higher."

"I like to come into markets where it is good for an investor to come in and do something special. Your prices in my opinion are unbelievably low."

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Image: Donald Trump speaks at the press conference in Mumbai.
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Trump also spoke repeatedly about the great perception people now have about India abroad thanks to Narendra Modi.

"Since your recent elections of the prime minister the whole perception of India is so strong. He has brought people together. I don't know him. I have not met him. He has brought people together and the perception of what is taking place in India is terrific..."

"I said that before and I really mean it... Your new leader, your new prime minister has done a lot to bring India together. And the world is watching that. I can speak as a person from the outside looking in that sometimes people from the inside do not see. I don't know him. I haven't met him, but he has done a terrific job in terms of India and (in terms of) letting the world know what is happening."

He spoke about having many India connections. "I have so many friends in India and from India that live in New York in my buildings... I have gotten to know them over the years and they are fantastic people."

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Image: Donald Trump shares his excitement about India.
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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Vaihayasi Pande Daniel/Rediff.com

When quizzed about his decision to enter India, Trump spoke abut how there were many countries whose real estate or hospitality markets the Trump Group was invited to enter (being "the hottest brand there is") but were not exciting and hence have not entered.

"We don't need this. But this is what we wanted to do because of the importance of the project, the greatness of the city and its people... India was one market they wanted to be in. We have always wanted to do something in India. We have had four, five opportunities. We turned them down in all cases."

"When Lodha approached us about doing this job it was immediate. It was like you see some beautiful person and you fall in love."

Trump junior spoke about how often he had been asked, ever since he made his first trip to India seven years ago, when the Trumps would enter India. But he knew that would only happen at the right moment and with the right project.

"It was a market that we knew was going to be huge for the Trump organization and for our future..." Trump Jr said. "Finally bringing New York style, London style, luxury interiors to Mumbai... (Glad that I could) bring my father here and introduce him to this incredible market."

Shortly after the press conference Trump Jr posted an image on Twitter with the caption: 'Photo of the Trump Tower Mumbai press conference. Amazing turnout.'


Image: Donald Trump Jr speaks at the press conference in Mumbai.
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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