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His absence will tower over event

The architect will be there. So will the Realtor, the mayor, the contractor and the local money men.

But when Trump Tower Tampa ceremonially breaks ground on Thursday, a certain brash-talking New Yorker will be conspicuous by his absence: Donald Trump himself.

A year after he swooped into town to kick off sales of the quarter-billion-dollar condo tower, Trump won't attend the birth of his 52-story namesake. "Mr. Trump cannot attend but he will be represented," project spokesman David Hooks said without elaboration.

A slate of dignitaries, including Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, will gather at S Ashley Drive and Brorein Street along the Hillsborough River for the 2 p.m. ceremony.

West Florida's tallest skyscraper has remained mostly a rumor the past year as developers sold most of the tower's 192 units but construction never got off the ground.

The local developers, SimDag LLC, have promised to start laying the building's foundation toward a completion in 33 months.

The name of one key player remains as elusive as The Donald: Who will lend Trump Tower money to finance construction?

Hooks promised that "news about the financing arrangement is forthcoming."

James Thorner can be reached at or (813) 226-3313.