ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
President-elect Donald Trump says his family will not move into the White House as soon as he's inaugurated. His wife and young son will remain in New York City. For the Secret Service, that means setting up shop in one of the most expensive places on Earth. It also means renting space in a building that Trump partly owns. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: This is Fifth Avenue in Manhattan right in front of Trump Tower where Donald Trump lives with his family. There are a lot of stores here, and this time of year, it's always really crowded with tourists. The fact that the president-elect lives and works here has forced police to seal off the entire block so they can control who comes and goes.
Meanwhile, there are often protesters camped out nearby behind barricades. For the Secret Service whose job it is to protect the president-elect and his family, controlling this part of town is an especially complex job.
JONATHAN WACKROW: It's very complicated. I mean, you know, most of our, you know, sites are not in the middle of a major city on a permanent basis.
ZARROLI: Former Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow says the agency is now determining what its footprint will be. It's working with federal and local officials to set up a large intelligence and surveillance operation inside Trump Tower.
WACKROW: Essentially what you have to do is make Trump Tower as secure as the White House.
ZARROLI: To do that, the Secret Service has to obtain space within Trump Tower. And because Trump owns part of the building, he could make money off the very agencies who are there to protect him. The same is true at Trump's Florida resort Mar-a-Lago. Wackrow says this isn't unusual. The Secret Service often rent space from presidents and their families.
WACKROW: We've done it at Crawford, Texas. We do it at Chappaqua. We do it at a lot of facilities. Any time that the federal government is taking, you know, private space, you know, it's logical for there to be, you know, a rental fee or around that.
ZARROLI: The difference is that Trump lives in Manhattan, so renting space will be a lot more expensive. How much more? The Secret Service says it's determining what its needs are and didn't want to comment for this story, so we put the question to Stephen Siegel of the commercial real estate firm CBRE. He says Trump Tower is a good building.
STEPHEN SIEGEL: Perfectly good space, decent ceiling heights. Column spacing is good, so offices like this are easily laid out - lots of light and air.
ZARROLI: But Trump Tower is also a residential and retail building. Siegel says there isn't a lot of office space, so really big companies can't locate there. Plus many tenants like to put their own names on buildings, and Trump Tower is already named for Trump.
Siegel figures office space there would go for around $70 a square foot, compared to as much as $190 for a top property such as the GM building. Siegel also says there's another problem with Trump Tower.
S. SIEGEL: I don't think I could put a tenant in there that would be comfortable with the security measures that are required by the president-elect living there and having his offices there.
ZARROLI: Siegel says the fact that anyone entering the building will have to go through multiple checkpoints actually hurts the value of the property. The bottom line is Trump may make money off the presence of the Secret Service, but in the long run, having the agency there could cost him. Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.
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