There was a considerable amount of speculation over the possibility that US President-elect Donald Trump asked President Mauricio Macri help to speed up some bureaucratic issues concerning the Trump Tower one of his companies intended to build in Buenos Aires. Both men denied these claims and, be it because of a potential conflict of interests or not, Trump, through his lawyers, cancelled all of projects he had outside the United States that hadn’t started actual construction yet. Meaning that it looks like countries like Argentina, Brazil and India will all have to wait to see a Trump building erected on their soil.
During a visit to promote a Trump Tower that is being built in the Uruguayan city of Punta del Este, Trump’s son, Eric, talked to Argentine media and confirmed that they will not continue with their project in Argentina, but assured the media that the family business intends to do something in the future. He also praised Macri’s economic policies, asserting that they will help attract investment.
“We’d like to find something. But it will be when we have the perfect location and the right project. [Buenos Aires] Is a wonderful city, one I have been to many times,” Eric Trump said. On the surface at least, the proposed Trump Tower project for Buenos Aires met those requisites. Trump, along with the Argentine firm they planned to work on the project with, YY Development, already had a location and an idea: A 35-story luxury office tower in the neighborhood of Microcentro, which would have cost US $100 million to build.
In regards to the rumors about the President-elect asking Macri about the delay in the project, Trump son was blunt: “My father said it’s not true. And Macri also said it wasn’t.”
After the alleged conversation made headlines in both Argentina and the US, the City’s Ministry of Urban Development issued a press release stating that the permit given to investment company Kubic S.A. — the company that initially intended to develop the project — in 2007 had expired three years after its approval, in accordance with local law.
In April 2016, Trump’s YY Development Group and architect Berardo Dujovne — father of newly appointed Treasury Minister, Nicolás Dujovne — submitted a request to reactivate the pre-existing municipal permit which would allow them to begin construction, according to YY’s director general Juan José Cugliandolo.
The aim was to expedite this process, paying all the fees again and presenting the modifications that corresponded to the new project’s updates. The developers were confident about getting the permits, thinking that they would be able to begin building the tower in June this of this year. However, the ministry’s response was negative stating that if they really wanted to move forward with it, they should have started the bureaucratic process from scratch. Now it’s been officially cancelled.
Although the outlets that talked to Trump reported that he refused to talk politics, he did weigh in on Macri’s economic policies and praised his intention to “open up to the world.” From my standpoint, Argentina is now perceived internationally as a country that is much more open and amicable for business. This will bring investments and I think will help the country develop. People want stability in their country and see investment come from other countries. The more they come, the better they will do economically,” he said.
As for his personal relationship with the Argentine president, Trump said he actually hasn’t met him. “My father knew him when he was young and they had a good relationship. Let’s hope the relationship between Argentina and the United States strengthens like never before. I will leave that to them. Although it would be nice to see an amazing relationship between the two countries.”
Eric trump is currently in Punta del Este to promote the apartment tower. It has 154 units distributed over 26 floors. So far 60 percent of the apartments have been sold with many of the buyers being Argentine. The remaining 40 percent will prove to be a challenge, Clarín reports, as the luxury market in the Uruguayan city is close to being tapped out for many would-be buyers.