Incredible enough that the Trumps are establishing a beachhead here.
Eric Trump is now a point person for the Trump Organization’s growing investments in Virginia. His sister, Ivanka, recently spearheaded the family’s pursuit of Washington’s Old Post Office, where the Trumps plan to create a luxury hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Eric runs the Trump National golf course along the Potomac River in Loudoun County, which he says has more than 700 members, including many big-name Washingtonians. The course is one of 13 the company operates around the world, including one along the North Sea in Scotland.
As executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization, Eric is also responsible for the Trump Winery, on the former estate of Patricia Kluge near Charlottesville.
The Trumps’ acquisition of the financially troubled estate and winery is a case study of how to craft a smart real estate purchase without paying the full price. Even the Wall Street Journal admiringly referred to the Kluge (pronounced clue-gee) transaction as a “windfall.”
“It’s the art of the deal,” said Eric, quoting his father’s book of the same name and crediting his dad for having the business chops — honed over decades in New York City real estate wars — to close the deal.
Like father . . .
Eric, like his dad, loves to wax on about the family’s purchases. In addition to golf courses, there’s Mar-a-Lago, the legendary Palm Beach, Fla., estate of heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. The Trumps have turned it into an exclusive club where the family gathers during holidays.
His famous father’s career bridges real estate, entertainment (the Miss USA Pageant, “The Apprentice”), books and lately politics. Donald Trump went on David Letterman’s “Late Show” last week, offering to donate $5 million to the charity of President Obama’s choice if the president would release his college transcripts and passport records. Obama hasn’t taken the offer.
“People absolutely love my father and the fact he says what everyone else is thinking but are afraid to say,” said Eric, whose pronouncements suggest that exuberance, and not a little self-confidence, runs in the family.
The Kluge estate is the family’s latest score. Patricia Kluge is the former wife of the late John Kluge, ranked by Forbes as one of the richest people in the United States. When they divorced, she used the $100 million-or-so settlement she received to build a world-class winery and picturesque estate on about 1,000 acres outside Charlottesville.
Patricia planted a vineyard, launched a winery, indulged her love for Jefferson horse carriages, constructed a nine-hole golf course and even built a chapel on the grounds so she could worship without leaving the property.