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Trump to sell luxury condos in Palm Beach

After months of trying unsuccessfully to hawk billions of dollars in investments, developer Donald Trump said Friday he plans to auction 45 luxury condominiums and townhouses in West Palm Beach for an opening bid of almost one-half of the units' lowest previous asking price of about $300,000. The Dec. 16 auction would be the first major sale of properties since the strength of Trump's finances was called into question in March. In recent months, he has unsuccessfully attempted to sell the Trump Shuttle airline and the Plaza Hotel in New York.

But real estate analysts consider the Palm Beach Trump Plaza _ consisting of two towers each 32 stories high _ to be among the least attractive and marketable of Trump's so-called "trophy" properties. "Trump owes about $3-billion, and this (sale) will amount to about nine days worth of interest," said financial analyst Wilbur Ross.

Trump acknowledged that the decision to auction off the residences _ a device that usually ensures some sales but depresses prices _ reflects the soft real estate market nationwide and the "need for more aggressive and innovative marketing approaches."

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