Judge Sides With Residents Who Want Trump's Name Off Their NYC Building A judge in New York said Trump Place, a condominium building on Manhattan's West Side, can remove the Trump name from the building if enough residents agree.

Judge Sides With Residents Who Want Trump's Name Off Their NYC Building

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If you drive on the West Side Highway in Manhattan, you cannot help but notice Trump Place looming over the skyline. It is one of several buildings in New York bearing Donald Trump's name. Well, tomorrow, residents will ask a judge to let them change their building's name. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports on how the Trump brand is losing its luster in the city he's from.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: A dozen years ago, James Tufenkian noticed a really nice building going up in his neighborhood on Manhattan's East Side. He went inside and loved what he saw. Just about the only thing he didn't like was the name - Trump World Tower.

JAMES TUFENKIAN: It was kind of detestable (laughter). You know, even at that time, I didn't like the idea of being in a building with his name on it, but it didn't have nearly the significance that it does now.

ZARROLI: Tufenkian, who heads a carpet company, still lives in the building. And he loves it - great staff, nice views, very well-managed. He just doesn't like that name.

TUFENKIAN: But look, I have lots of people - I have to explain to everybody who comes to visit me that I'm sorry about the name on the building. You know, just that I live there doesn't constitute any kind of endorsement.

ZARROLI: President Trump doesn't own Trump World Tower, but his company manages it. And, of course, it bears his name. And there are signs that name has become something of a liability. That is also true at Trump's signature property, Trump Tower, where the president and his family have long lived.

Jonathan Miller, who runs an appraisal firm in New York, says there are a lot of newer luxury buildings in the city, and they've eclipsed Trump Tower.

JONATHAN MILLER: It's no longer the top tier of the market because this new product has changed all that.

ZARROLI: And he says the intense security at the building since the election probably discourages some buyers.

MILLER: That has the potential to impact values in the building.

ZARROLI: But even in other Trump buildings where security isn't an issue, Trump's unpopularity may be hurting property values. The online brokerage firm Zumper compared rents in Trump buildings to others in the city. They found that in most cases, Trump apartments sat on the market longer and fetched lower prices.

Managing broker Nathan Tondow says if an apartment is a good deal, even with the Trump name, people will still want to live in it. But the name does matter.

NATHAN TONDOW: We've had rental clients who didn't want to see buildings because they did have a Trump name on them. And we try to explain that it is owned by someone else. It's just the Trump name. And then they said, I know, but walking into that everyday just feels wrong.

ZARROLI: Real estate prices have softened in New York, especially at the high end, so that may be a factor in what's happening. But some buildings clearly see Trump's name as a liability. Trump properties in Canada and Panama have rebranded themselves. In New York, the Trump Soho is now the Dominick. Three Upper West Side buildings have dropped the Trump name.

And tomorrow, a condo building at 200 Riverside Blvd. will ask a judge for the right to do so as well. The building's lawyer declined to comment. Elizabeth Holub, who lives in Trump Place, says the irony is it's a really nice place to live.

ELIZABETH HOLUB: The truth of the matter is that it is - look, I can't stand Donald Trump. I'm sorry. He's the president. I don't support his policies. The reality is it's the best run building.

ZARROLI: The building is managed by the Trump Organization, which opposes the name change. Eric Trump has said the effort is being spearheaded by a few rogue residents, but a straw poll in the building suggests most residents support the change.

President Trump spent years building up his brand, but for some people in the city where he grew rich, that brand has become toxic. Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.

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