Why this particular Central American country?
The weather, obviously, is a factor, but there is also the fact it has some appealing financial benefits for people looking to retire there.
And Donald Trump being Donald Trump, he recognized the eye candy, financial and otherwise, that Panama represented.
The millionaire developer and celebrity TV personality (The Apprentice) has sunk more than $400 million into a sail-shaped, highrise luxury condo development to entice North American money to the region.
Trump says his interest in Panama started about five years ago when he held the Miss Universe pageant there.
“I’m excited to bring the prestige of the Trump Organization to this exceptional destination project,” he says in a news release. “With this development, we will set a new standard of luxury in Panama.”
Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower Panama is the tallest building in Latin America and covers more real estate than any other development in the region, says Roger Khafif, president of Newland International Properties Corp.
It took more than three years to complete the project, which soars 70 storeys from the trendy Punta Pacifica area of Panama City and covers nearly three million square feet.
“This is the first time the Trump Organization has invested in real estate in Central America, highlighting the present level of confidence Mr. Trump has in Panama, our budding economy and our first-class developments,” says Khafif.
Canadians are going to play a key role in the success of the high-end, luxury development, he says.
“We continue to get buyer interest from Canada,” he says.
“The Canadian market is very important for us, as many are deciding to retire in Panama or purchase a second home here.
“Panama offers an attractive retiree benefit program and foreigners have the same rights as Panamanians — including numerous tax exemptions and incentives for businesses — making the country that much more appealing.”
Opening early next year, Trump Ocean Club will set a new benchmark for the Latin American region, says Khafif.
Trump Ocean Club has 1,004 units divided into three different housing styles — 509 Residences of 1,081 to 4,251 square feet, 126 Bay Lofts covering between 607 and 761 square feet, and 369 Hotel Condominium suites sized from 509 to 1,081 square feet.
The Residences and Bay Lofts come in one-, two-, three-bedroom and penthouse configurations, while the Hotel Condominiums have studio and one-bedroom suites.
Prices for the various housing styles range from the low $400,000 US range to more than $1 million.
The five-star development will feature numerous luxury amenities and features, including an oversized infinity pool, amenities deck, upscale boutiques and exclusive office lofts.
There will also be things such as an elite hotel sky lobby, a state-of-the-art business centre, concierge service and valet parking.
An elaborate topping off ceremony was held this past summer to celebrate the placement of the last steel beam.
Now that the Trump Ocean Club residences and hotel condos are about 90 per cent sold, and the building exterior is complete, the interiors will take precedence.
Anticipation is beginning for the grand opening.
“Nothing like this has ever been attempted in Latin America,” says Khafif.
“When you think of Sydney, you think of the Opera House. When you think of Paris, you think of the Eiffel Tower and when you think of Panama, you will think of Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower Panama.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
PROJECT: Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower Panama. There are 1,004 units in the 70-storey building, ranging from studio suites to penthouses that measure from 509 to 4,251 square feet. There are also various
service and business amenities attached to the highrise.
AREA: Punta Pacifica region of Panama City, Panama.
PRICES: Depending on the type of residence and location in the building, prices run from the low $400,000 range to more than $1 million.