One year after taking office, President Donald Trump’s fortune is down an estimated $400 million to $3.1 billion on the latest Forbes World’s Billionaires list. His net worth remains even from the most recent Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans, released in October. What caused the year-over-year decline? Markets are partially to blame—retail real estate in New York City continues to struggle—but the president’s polarizing personality is costing him business as well.
The rise of ecommerce has pushed down the value of properties like Trump Tower, which sits in the heart of shopping mecca Fifth Avenue in New York City. Forbes estimates that the value of Trump’s most famous building declined $41 million in the last year.
Just around the corner, the president’s property at 6 East 57th Street has suffered even more. Piling onto the market challenges, longtime tenant Nike announced it is vacating the space this spring. That leaves the Trump Organization in need of a new occupant at its roughly 65,000 square-foot property. “I don’t know of any tenants that need that much space other than department stores,” said Manhattan real estate broker Eric Anton. “And I don’t think there are any expanding department stores.”
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The president’s golf properties have been less affected by market shifts, but they seem more susceptible to political currents. Three of the president’s largest golf clubs are in states that voted for him, and revenues appear to be up more than 5% at all of them. The reverse happened in places where Trump lost to Hillary Clinton, with sales down an estimated 4% in the northeast and Los Angeles. Revenues are also down in Scotland, where the president owns two golf clubs.
The value of Trump’s hotel licensing and management company dropped an estimated $50 million in the last year, as the power of the Trump brand seems to be fading in markets like Toronto and New York, where investors have removed the president’s name from hotels. On Monday, workers reportedly pried Trump’s name off of a third tower, in Panama.
Shortly before Trump became president, his lawyer promised no new foreign deals while Trump was in office, effectively shutting down one potential avenue for growth. Months later, the Trump Organization announced plans for two new domestic brands, named Scion and American Idea. So far, they have only announced four deals. “I just think it’s an impossible mission,” says one hotel expert.
There are bright spots in the president’s portfolio. Downtown Manhattan office space is performing better than midtown retail, helping boost Trump’s most valuable property, 40 Wall Street, by an estimated $32 million.
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Real estate tycoon Steven Roth may be doing more to add to the president’s fortune than anyone else. As CEO of publicly traded Vornado Realty Trust, Roth oversees management of 1290 Avenue of the Americas in New York and 555 California Street in San Francisco, two properties in which Trump owns a 30% interest. Profits surged an estimated 15% at the New York building, and the market continues to thrive in San Francisco, boosting the value of Trump’s two holdings by a combined $71 million.
Forbes also uncovered additional information that bumped up the value of certain assets while diminishing the value of others. The president paid off a loan against Niketown, for example, and apparently drew down an additional $45 million in debt at his Washington D.C. hotel.
It all adds up to an estimated $3.1 billion fortune—a far cry from the $10 billion-plus that Trump once claimed but nonetheless enough to make him the richest president in U.S. history. – Written by ,