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Ground broken for Trump International Hotel & Tower.

Who can forget the sight and sounds of Lt. Governor Betsy McCaughey on a red suit day driving her jackhammer deep into the concrete? There too was developer Donald J. Trump and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, along with Deputy Mayor John Dyson, representatives of the Galbreath Company and the General Electric Pension Trust as they hefted their own jackhammers and officially broke ground at One Central Park West.

But it was the Feng Shui Master, Tin Sun and his daughter, Pun Yin, blessing a five-foot scale model of the renovated building with powders, incense and flower petals that will drive away the negative energy from its former incarnations - first as the Gulf & Western and then the Paramount Building - and awaken the positive energy needed to turn the structure into the Trump International Hotel & Tower (TIHT).

The Feng Shui (pronounced shway) master had already been consulted on the placement of entryways and the color of the building to ensure its good fortune. In fact, although a published report last week denounced the "gold" color of the building, that had already been changed to a bronze, earthy tone, partially on the advice of Master Tin Sun nearly six months ago. Architect Philip Johnson had also recommended the change, Trump said, "because no one would like it gold."

Trump had been brought in by the General Electric Pension Trust to help redevelop the 26-year old, 650,000 square-foot property after a sales analysis showed a residential building would make the most sense on the site. It also showed that properties connected with Trump's name garnered a substantial premium when it came time for sales. Louise Sunshine, and her company, The Sunshine Group, are handling the marketing of the building for the joint venture that includes the Galbreath Company.

The 166 apartment interiors and 167 hotel suites were designed by architect Costas Kondylis, who is also designing the mansions that Trump is planning to construct on David's Island off the coast of New Rochelle in Westchester County.

At the ceremony, architect Johnson studied the model of the TIHT with great interest, saying he wanted to observe the play of the lights on its skin and polished stainless steel columns as the model revolved on a turntable.

The $250 million rehab will create between 1,500 and 2,000 jobs and is expected to be completed in 18 months. Two inches of concrete will be re-poured on each slab to make the building stable for residential use, while the 10-foot tall walls will feature 9-foot windows to take advantage of the unobstructed four directional views. The lower floors will be set aside for hotel use and those guests will have their own entrance and lobby.

"This beautiful design represents a tower of jobs," said McCaughey after being introduced by Trump.

Mayor Giuliani concurred, saying, "(The building) will anchor this part of the city and give it a sense of worth; and most important, give the city jobs and mere jobs. New York City is turned around, the economy of the city is starting to move and its best indication is a project like this." The Mayor mentioned the uptick in the hotel market as well as the recent reduction in the hotel tax. Continued Giuliani, "Donald Trump deserves a great deal of credit... for helping to turn this city around again."

The Galbreath Company's Daniel L. Galbreath recalled the last five years were rough, and this was a very good time to be doing something special and positive.

General Electric Pension Fund's Dale Frey said they were delighted to be a part of what he called the most exciting residential project in the world. "We really have a win-win situation, when not only you can do something for the city by building such a beautiful structure, but when you can make money on it... and sell it," he said, referring to the launching of The Sunshine Group's marketing efforts.

"This has been the best business year of my life - its been a great personal year also by the way," Trump said, giving a nod to his wife, Marla, in the from row. He also thanked GE for choosing the Trump/Galbreath team to work on the project.

The 52-story building will always have its unobstructed views, Trump explained, due to both restrictive zoning and Central Park at its doorstep. "This is going to be something very, very special," he said. Referring to the new concrete that will take all the movement out of the building, Trump said "We will have the stiffest apartment house in New York City. Irwin, isn't it going to be the stiffest?," he asked, turning to Irwin Cantor, a partner in the engineering firm of Cantor Sinuk Group, who also sits on the city's Seismic Committee. "Absolutely," Cantor replied.

"I don't believe there is a better located structure in the City of New York," concluded Trump. "We'll see you all in about 18 months when we dedicate the building."

HRH Construction Corporation has been named construction manager for the project, while the structural engineers are the Cantor Seinuk Group and Leslie E. Robertson Associates.

The hundreds of celebrants included Commissioner William Diamond as well as Galbreath's Lizanne Galbreath, Bruce E. Mosler and Scott Coopchik, who took part in the Feng Shui blessings.

Even as the Feng Shui Master banished them from the project, construction workers were removing negative forces in the form of asbestos and lead-painted interior walls from the floors below, while on the outside, samples of the bronze curtain wall shimmered in the morning sun.
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Copyright 1995, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:One Central Park West hotel building
Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jun 28, 1995
Words:925
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