Trump Hotels said this week that it plans to build a luxury hotel in Seattle, according to Bloomberg.
This announcement came as President Donald Trump announced he would punish cities including Seattle for protecting undocumented immigrants. An executive order Trump signed on Wednesday says the government would withhold federal money from cities that don’t give up immigrants.
The Trumps don’t appear to have filed paperwork for a hotel. A spokesman for the Seattle permitting office said people in the office haven’t seen paperwork from the hotel chain.
And someone with intimate knowledge of Seattle’s downtown commercial real estate market said there is no deal yet, and that the statement from Trump Hotels was general.
Of course, negotiations could be handled secretly, as they were a decade ago, when the Trumps first tried to build in Seattle. They were in talks to buy property behind Bed, Bath & Beyond on Third Avenue, according to Seattle Met magazine.
Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, worked on this project, according to Seattle Met, and she demanded total secrecy. Ultimately, the deal fizzled; it’s unclear why.
Ivanka Trump aimed for a pricier space later that year, near Columbia Tower. Seattle Met describes those plans:
The renderings are striking—if not slightly bland—in part because the gleaming, silvery building, which resembles a scalpel, would have dwarfed the nearby Columbia Tower and become the tallest structure in Seattle. And in true Trump style, the $700 million project would have been over the top: The main tower was to include a three-story private club managed by the same firm that operates the Columbia Tower Club.
That deal also went nowhere.
The push to grow domestically comes after Trump Hotels scuttled its plans to expand in China, said Eric Danziger, CEO of Trump Hotels, according to Bloomberg. Rather, the hotel chain wants to grow in the U.S.
“There are 26 major metropolitan areas in the U.S., and we’re in five,” Danziger said, according to Bloomberg. “I don’t see any reason that we couldn’t be in all of them eventually.”
Trump Hotels is also considering opening hotels in Dallas, Denver and San Francisco.
Marc Stiles of Puget Sound Business Journal explained why Trump Hotels might be eyeing Seattle:
With nearly 2,950 hotel rooms being added to the city over the next two years, Seattle is in the midst of a hotel boom as developers seek to cash in on the city's Amazon-fueled boom. Last year, the luxury Thompson Seattle opened near Pike Place Market, and a 45-story Hyatt Regency is under construction near the $1.6 billion addition to the Washington State Convention Center. Construction of the addition is scheduled to start in September.
The Trumps have long been drawn to Seattle, at least historically. Frederick Trump, the president's grandfather, got his start in Pioneer Square in 1891. At the time, the historic neighborhood was the city's red-light district.
“He was really sharp, as his grandson is today, about looking at the market and figuring out what it wanted,” said Gwenda Blair, author of "The Trumps: Three Generations Of Builders and a Presidential Candidate.”
“And what it wanted then, in Seattle, a town of single guys out for the main chance, was alcohol, food and women,” Blair said. “He leased a restaurant, a place called the Poodle Dog. He advertised that it had private rooms for ladies, which was a not very disguised code for access to women, provided the booze, and he was off and running.”