- Alexandra Clough Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Trump International Realty, a boutique real estate brokerage run by the president’s children, is expanding its presence in South Florida, where the company intends to raise its profile and grab a greater share of the sizzling real estate market.
The move already is paying off: Trump International just listed a $39 million mansion for sale, the most expensive property the company has ever represented.
Eric Trump, who assumed control of the company with his brother, Donald Jr., after their father became president, confirmed to The Palm Beach Post that Trump International is the focus of growth. The brokerage is a division of the Trump Organization in New York.
“We are expanding in Jupiter and big time in Miami,” Eric Trump told The Post on Jan. 18 at Mar-a-Lago, during a party celebrating the first anniversary of his father’s inauguration as president.
The realty move was launched after Trump was sworn in as the 45th president last January, real estate sources said.
That’s when efforts began to grow the brokerage’s presence in Florida, home to Trump’s part-time Palm Beach home and several golf clubs. They include Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter and Trump National golf resort in Doral.
Both properties have Trump International Realty offices, and both offices have added real estate agents in recent months in a bid to build a stronger team.
The expansion comes as Trump faces continued criticism he is profiting from the presidency and that monied interests are buying access or influence by patronizing his businesses.
The initiation fee at Trump’s Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago, has doubled since he became president, to $200,000 from $100,000. And the Trump Organization’s new Trump International Hotel has become the go-to meeting place in Washington, D.C., for Republican, conservative or foreign players and their events.
But until now, little focus has been placed on Trump International Realty, the real estate sales and marketing arm of the Trump Organization.
For years, the New York-based company has been a quiet player in the South Florida scene. That appears to be changing.
Trump International is the listing agent for a $39 million waterfront mansion, Bella Fortuna in Fort Lauderdale. The home is designed and owned by Palm Beach architect Jeffery Smith.
Realtor was on the Apprentice
Trump International Realty agents Jennifer Barnett and Katrina Campins, who appeared in the first episode of Trump’s reality television show, “The Apprentice,” have the listing, which was obtained in December.
Campins said on Tuesday that Smith built the mansion for himself but then decided not to live there.
The 17,000-square-foot property, in the exclusive Las Olas Isles neighborhood, is modeled after the Doges Palace in Venice, Italy, Campins said. It features seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms and sits on a peninsula.
Campins confirmed the Trump’s family’s interest in expanding Trump International Realty, particularly Eric: “This is one of his babies,” Campins said.
While Trump International is more active in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Campins acknowledged Trump International Realty is less well-known in Palm Beach County.
But with the attention being paid to Mar-a-Lago, thanks to Trump’s frequent winter visits to his part-time Palm Beach home, “there are significant opportunities in Palm Beach for more growth,” Campins said. “There’s so much wealth concentrated in Palm Beach.”
Campins said many Palm Beach County residents are from the Northeast and are familiar with the Trump real estate brand, “even if they are not fans” of the president.
Campins, who lives in Miami, said she hopes to boost the brokerage’s profile in Palm Beach County and plans to spend more time here: “It’s a matter of people being aware of what we’re doing,” she said.
Campins also is confident the recent tax law will further spur relocations from high-tax states in the Northeast to South Florida.
These wealthy business executives not only are buying homes in South Florida. They also are opening offices for their hedge funds or private equity firms, a trend promoted by Palm Beach County’s Business Development Board and the city of West Palm Beach, across the bridge from the island of Palm Beach.
But Trump International Realty isn’t just interested in home, or mansion, sales.
The company is eager to handle commercial real estate transactions, including multifamily housing investment opportunities, industrial space, development deals or investment sales.
To help with that effort, the company has hired or brought down more real estate agents to work in the Jupiter and Miami offices.
They include Heidi Brzyski, managing broker of the Jupiter and Miami offices. Her website biography said she previously served as director of membership and marketing and general manager at Trump National Golf Club in Colts Neck, New Jersey.
Campins said the real estate community is starting to learn about Trump International’s rising profile in South Florida: “I think word has gotten out,” Campins said.
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