Trump Tours Sites for Luxury Towers

If one of the United States' most notorious developers gets his wish, the next grand addition to the Moscow skyline won't be a Stalin skyscraper -- it will be a Trump Tower.

"We're looking at building a super-luxury residential tower," said casino and real-estate mogul Donald Trump, "which I think Moscow desperately wants and needs."

Trump arrived Tuesday for a three-day visit, during which he said he would be checking out sites for a luxury residential high-rise.

If his Moscow dream is realized, it will mark Trump's first real-estate development project outside the United States. He picked Moscow, he said, because "it is really a city with a great future, great potential."

The main stop on Trump's itinerary was Ducat Place on Ulitsa Gasheka, near Triumfalnaya Ploshchad. The Ducat property is being developed in three stages by cigarette producer Liggett-Ducat Ltd., which holds two back-to-back 49-year leases on the land.

Liggett-Ducat has completed one phase of the project and the second, the 14,000 square meter Ducat Place II office center, is near completion. According to Liggett-Ducat, Trump is here to talk about developing Ducat Place Phase III into Europe's first Trump Tower.

The force behind Trump's visit to Moscow was Ben LeBow, chairman of the board of Liggett-Ducat's U.S.-based parent company, Brooke Group Ltd. "Donald is the preeminent marketeer and developer in the world," said LeBow. "We want the best for Moscow -- and Donald's it."

Trump, as usual, is thinking big: He is visiting other potential sites in Moscow and said he is looking at building "beyond one" residential tower here.

Ronald Bernstein, the president of Brooke Overseas Ltd. and Liggett-Ducat Ltd., said other future projects are a possibility. "But we'll take it one at a time," he said.

Trump already has a track record for planning opulent business addresses, casinos and hotels -- and pulling them off. He was worth an estimated $1.7 billion in 1989 when his assets included New York's Trump Tower and fabled Plaza Hotel, but a market reversal found him with over $900 million in debt in 1991.

In recent years, he rode his three Atlantic City casinos back to fiscal health, and is now worth an estimated $450 million to $700 million.