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Trump looks at Tampa tower

Published Aug. 24, 2005

Real estate mogul Donald Trump, star of the hit reality show The Apprentice, may be putting his name on Tampa's skyline.

A proposed condominium tower to be built downtown along Tampa's waterfront would be more than 50 stories high, making it the tallest on Florida's west coast, WTVT-Ch. 13 reported Friday night.

Brochures for the condo at Ashley Drive and Whiting Street have gone out and promise the ultimate in luxury and so-called "Trump style."

"I think that's indicative of what an attractive market Tampa is," Mayor Pam Iorio told WTVT on Friday.

She added: "I'm not at all surprised. He's very high profile of course, and that will make a big splash. But the fact is, we're getting more and more interest from national investors who see Tampa as a quality place to invest, and that speaks well of our city."

An official announcement is expected Monday.

Tampa developer Al Austin said he had only heard some rumors about such a plan.

"Where are they going to park?" he wondered, speculating that the building would need to include a substantial number of floors devoted to a parking garage.

But he welcomed such an enterprise.

"Any time there's something good for Tampa, I'm for it," he said.

Christine Burdick, president of Tampa Downtown Partnership, said she heard rumors months ago that Trump might involved in the project. However, the developers denied it at the time, Burdick said.

Last week, several people inquired about whether Trump was involved, Burdick said, but she had not been able to confirm it.

Trump made headlines in late November when his casino empire filed for bankruptcy protection after months of negotiations with bondholders over restructuring a crushing debt.

Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc. and numerous related operations filed for protection from its creditors under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code.

The casino business consists mainly of three Atlantic City properties and a riverboat casino in Indiana and are only a small part of Trump's real estate empire.

The filings come even as Trump, the celebrity developer and best-selling author, has returned to the spotlight with the television show The Apprentice, which turned "You're fired" into a national catch phrase.

Trump said he will remain chairman and chief executive of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, but his share would be reduced to 27 percent from 47 percent under a proposed restructuring plan reached with bondholders last month.

Times staff writer Scott Long and contributed to this report.