Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat—Ivanka Trump is currently the executive vice-president of development and acquisitions at real estate, hospitality and entertainment conglomerate the Trump Organization, which is headed and was founded by her father, US businessman and host of American TV show The Apprentice Donald Trump.
But Ivanka is a successful businesswoman in her own right, with her own fashion label, the Ivanka Trump Collection, as well as having had a lucrative career as a model. She has even penned a book, The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life.
Having joined the family business, Ivanka is setting her sights on the Middle East. The Trump Organization is building an exclusive gated community, the Trump Estates, billed as “the Beverly Hills of Dubai,” at AKOYA, a 400,000-square-meter park developed by UAE real estate giant DAMAC Properties. The community is also home to the Trump International Golf Club in Dubai, a state-of-the-art 7,205-yard, 71-par golf course.
Asharq Al-Awsat caught up with her during a short stop she made in Dubai to talk about her career, the Trump Organization’s push into the region and her passion for real estate.
Asharq Al-Awsat: Could you tell us a bit more about Trump Estates Dubai, and the designs you will be putting forward for the project?
Ivanka Trump: I’m incredibly excited to be spearheading the design concepts for Trump Estates Dubai. This is our first project in the Middle East and I wanted to create an experience unlike any other. I felt it was important to make the golf course an integral part of the villa design, and to achieve this we’ve chosen to integrate a very open floor plan complete with a glass façade that maximizes the spectacular views of the course from each residence. We are also using a variety of natural materials to offer a contrast from the more contemporary glass features. The result will truly be a one-of-a-kind luxury experience unlike anything else in Dubai.
Q: What’s next for your career?
Right now I’m very focused on the development of Trump Estates Dubai, the upcoming completion of the two-year, 250 million-dollar redevelopment of Trump National Doral in Miami, and preparations for the redevelopment of the Old Post Office [Pavilion] on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, soon to be renamed Trump International Hotel. The Trump Hotel Collection is currently pursuing the most aggressive expansion plan of any luxury hospitality brand. Our goal is to have 30 properties operational by 2020. We have expanded our development team and recently opened offices in Shanghai to source opportunities in Asia–Pacific and in Dubai to explore additional opportunities in India and the Middle East. In addition to my work with the Trump Organization, I have recently implemented an incredible team to manage my brand’s growth and pursue new opportunities for continued expansion.
Q: You invest in real estate and encourage investment in the sector. Was your interest a result of being the daughter of a US real estate magnate?
I have very vivid memories of my parents coming home at the end of the day and being excited about their projects, and it was difficult not to share their enthusiasm. Real estate has always been my passion. My very first job was working with the construction team during the building of Trump World Tower in New York. I love the tangible nature of the industry after years of hard work; conceiving, planning and building a project you are able to experience the results of your efforts. It is very gratifying to watch people enjoying a hotel or residential project that you spent years obsessing over every detail. Being able to work side-by-side with my father and brothers is incredibly fun and very rewarding, and being able to share it with my husband—a real estate developer himself—is wonderful.