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Trump's sons, Eric and Donald Jr, have taken charge of the family business.
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Trump’s sons Eric and Donald Jr. see opportunities for the family business.
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

The Trump Organization wants to add 50 to 100 hotels in the US in the next three years

By Max de Haldevang

There are currently 14 hotels in the world owned or branded by Trump Hotels. It’s a small number for a world-famous firm—and one that ethics experts were hoping at the very least wouldn’t grow after Donald Trump took office as US president. But that won’t be the case if Trump Hotels CEO Eric Danziger has his way.

He’s planning to open 50 to 100 new US hotels over three years, according to the Associated Press—a spree that would change the company from a small chain that is largely dedicated to branding, to having a decent foothold in the US market.

Danziger has a history with expansions like these. He took Starwood Hotels and Resorts from 20 properties to 600 over three years in the 1990s, though this was mainly through acquisitions of brands like Westin and Sheraton.

The Trump group doesn’t plan to build or buy the new hotels, but would manage and brand them, while local partners own and construct them. The properties would be part of Trump Hotels’ new, less expensive brand, Scion, with rooms costing about $200 to $300 per night, the AP reports.

Danziger told the AP the company has signed more than 20 letters of intent with developers to build the hotels. (The New York Times, which also spoke to Danziger for a story published this week, put the number at roughly 30.)

So far, the only potential partner announced publicly is Mukemmel “Mike” Sarimsakci, who calls himself the “Turkish Trump” and reportedly has a web of business interests in countries including Russia, China, and Kazakhstan. Sarimsakci is planning a hotel in Dallas, which he initially said would be funded with cash from Kazakh, Qatari, and Turkish investors, but has since decided will only have US partners. He hopes to build a number of Scion hotels but has reportedly not yet cleared the vetting process of the Trump Organization’s recently installed ethics officers. (The Trump Organization, run by Donald Trump’s sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, is the parent company of Trump Hotels.)

Danziger told the New York Times there is no “blanket rule” against accepting money from foreign investors, despite ethics experts’ concerns about the US president’s company becoming entangled with foreign interests.

Between the New York Times and AP interviews, Danziger has mentioned 12 cities of interest to Trump Hotels. It isn’t clear that these are all places where the company has signed a letter of intent, but a spokeswoman for the hotel chain confirms that the company is at least “pursuing” projects in these cities:

  • Dallas, Texas
  • Seattle, Washington
  • San Francisco, California
  • Denver, Colorado
  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Austin, Texas
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Valley Forge, Pennsylvania