By Konrad Putzier
Trump Soho developers Alex Sapir and Rotem Rosen are planning to take Manhattan to Moscow.
The duo met with Russian developer Aras Agalarov and Donald Trump at the weekend to discuss replicating the successful hotel they built in New York in the heart of the Russian capital.
“The Trump Soho has a lot of very high profile Russian visitors and they have been telling us they wish there was something modern and hip like it in Moscow,” said Russian-born Sapir.
“Over the last ten years, there have been no big new hotels built in Moscow. A lot of people from the oil and gas businesses have come to us asking to be partners in building a product like Trump Soho there.”
During their Russian trip, the developers attended the Miss Universe contest — an event co-owned by Trump and NBC Universal — that was held at Crocus City Hall.
The event offered a good networking opportunity.“The Russian market is attracted to me,” Trump said. “I have a great relationship with many Russians, and almost all of the oligarchs were in the room.”
Trump told the Real Estate Weekly he is in talks with Agalarov as well as three other groups. “There’s no rush as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
Trump didn’t disclose a height or square footage being discussed, but said that “it has to be a large development, big enough to justify the travel etc.”
Billionaire Agalarov owns Crocus City Hall and has built both the biggest shopping center in Moscow and the largest trade center. He told local reporters he had been talking to the New York developers about forming a joint venture to build in Moscow.
The building would be Trump’s first project in Russia. In neighboring Georgia, he is developing a 47-story residential tower.
Rosen said the trip had given the trio an opportunity to meet with several interested Russians. He explained, “Emerging from the European recession, Moscow is becoming a very attractive destination for business people and there is enough wealth in the country to sustain a market over there — it is not a market that is relying on outside forces.
“The essence of our plan is to take an old building and add a modern component on top that would include a business complex and a luxury hotel. We would preserve the old structure and perhaps add a glass structure on top.”
After a rocky start, Trump Soho has become a huge hit with the rich and famous. Built by Sapir and the Bayrock Group and opened in 2011, the condo-hotel is managed by the Trump Organization.
Rosen and Sapir have also been busy repositioning 260 & 261 Madison Avenue, which has signed several high profile office tenants, including Signature Bank, BEM and Coca Cola. They have a term sheet out with Sony to take 500,000 s/f at 11 Madison Avenue, where Credit Suisse has renewed terms, and they have installed a Fidelity Investor Center in 22,000 s/f on the ground and mezzanine retail space.
The developers are also planning to open the first American outpost of Zuma, the popular Japanese eatery in which they are partners with chef Rainer Becker, at the base of 261 Madison next May.
Rosen said the partners have yet to discuss whether Zuma could open in the Moscow development. “Our next step for Zuma will be Las Vegas,” he added.