You Know It's Bad Out There When . . .

Even Donald Trump's credit is tight

Even Donald Trump is having a tough go of it.

The brash New York City developer has been "been forced to hit up his bankers for extra time to pay back a loan used to finance the 92-story Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago," Bloomberg reports today.

That's the not-quite-finished building on the riverfront where the old Sun-Times building used to squat.

"The market in Chicago is very bad at this moment,'" Trump told Bloomberg.

Trump's problems in Chicago have spread through the mediasphere this week, perhaps because it serves so well as a symbol of how deeply damaged the economy is.

"Even 'The Donald' Can't Escape Commercial Real Estate Slump," Huliq Newsannounced.

"Trump's Chicago tower faces challenge in uncertain economy," SmartBriefstated.

"Trump Digs Himself Out of a Hole in Chicago," Cityfilesaid.

True, those accounts all echoed the big Trump story published by the Wall Street Journal this week ("In Chicago, Trump Hits Headwinds"), but often with a mix of fascinating glee and fear.

"It turns out Trump owes a lot of money to a lot of people, and he's been having difficulty finding people who want to live in his gold and marble palace. The credit crunch, declining housing market and weak retail sales? They're not helping either!" Cityfile said in a post under the rubric, "The Meltdown."

The Wall Street Journal reported that "Trump's 92-story Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago, which will be the tallest building constructed in the U.S. since the Sears Tower opened in 1973, may be especially vulnerable because it's getting hit by a triple whammy of colliding forces: the credit crunch, the reversal in the housing market and weak retail sales."

And it noted that this is one of the few projects in which Trump does not have a partner. Trump has nobody to fire but himself.

"Mr. Trump has lined up buyers for a bit less than $600 million of condo units and condo-hotel units in a residential market that has virtually seized up. Yet he owes lenders as much as $1 billion when the loans are due, according to public records and several people familiar with the project," the Journal reports. "He has closed around $200 million in sales so far, with roughly $380 million still in contract. The retail portion of the giant building is for sale, at a time of rising vacancies for retail space in Chicago and one of the worst eras for retailers in years."

In typical Trump bravado, he told the Journal that "The job is on time and on budget, and it's a beautiful job and will become an icon of the Chicago skyline."


"There's an economic disaster going on in the country," Trump toldTime. "A lot of things you think will be built in Chicago and elsewhere will never be built. The banks are shut down. But we got this one built, and we're proud of it."

Trump is also having problems with his new property in Las Vegas. "I've never seen anything like it," Trump told the Las Vegas Review-Journal earlier this month. "Historically, the banks will call me and beg for end loans. But they don't do that any more because the banks are really out of business."

Trump had closed only
21 percent of the 1,284 condos there by the end of September.

Back in Chicago, Trump faced another unexpected delay as today's spire installation was postponed.

"The Trump Organization and its subcontractors will have to resolve such concerns before they are allowed to proceed," Blair Kamin reports at The Skyline. "The installation likely will be reset for the weekend of Nov. 15 and 16, Weiss said. However, that date can't be considered solid, given that Wednesday's postponement marked the second delay for the installation. It originally was planned for the weekend of October 25 and 26."

Sometimes nothing goes right even for Donald Trump.

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