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Trump cuts all ties to Tampa tower

Donald Trump had soaring hopes for the Tampa project in 2005, but plans have collapsed.

CHRIS ZUPPA | Times (2005)

Donald Trump had soaring hopes for the Tampa project in 2005, but plans have collapsed.

Donald Trump has settled his lawsuit with the developers of Trump Tower Tampa, marking the New York tycoon's final break with the on-again, off-again luxury condo project.

The successful mediation Monday between Trump and former associate SimDag-Robel LLC left neither side with everything it wanted, SimDag attorney Jeffrey Warren said, without disclosing specific terms.

Trump sued in May 2007 to recover more than $2-million in licensing fees SimDag was supposed to pay for the right to use Trump's name on the 52-story skyscraper.

SimDag launched a countersuit accusing Trump of breaching a confidentiality agreement by going public with his complaints.

The tower was planned in 2005 as the biggest skyscraper in west-central Florida. Units started at $700,000 and topped out at $6-million. But the developers couldn't get a $200-million loan amid Florida's condo glut. After a series of increasingly desperate financing proposals, SimDag filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June.

Warren said mediation brought the licensing agreement "to a closure," effectively sealing the fate of the tower.

"It's really off the drawing boards right now. That's the economic reality of what's happened," Warren said. "If SimDag wants to use the Trump brand again, they'll need a new agreement."

Though the tower deal is dead, SimDag is resisting an immediate sale of its vacant 1.5-acre riverfront lot at 111 S Ashley Drive. It prefers waiting until the real estate market improves to get a better price, Warren said.

Trump didn't attend the mediation conference in Tampa. Citing business conflicts, he sent New York attorney Bernard Diamond in his place.

Monday's settlement still needs ratification by the judge assigned to SimDag's bankruptcy case.

Trump cuts all ties to Tampa tower 09/30/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 7, 2008 11:18am]
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