‘Trump’ to be dumped from NY signs as building company shows ‘neutrality’

© Brendan McDermid
The president-elect’s name is to be dropped from three Manhattan apartment buildings owned by a private company amid petitions from residents who called on their landlord to ‘Dump the Trump’ name.

The rental buildings on Manhattan’s Upper West Side at 140, 160 and 180 Riverside Boulevard currently bear the gold-lettered signage ‘Trump Place’. However, the properties owned by Chicago-based Equity Residential are being renamed as their street addresses.

Equity Residential spokesman Marty McKenna told Bloomberg that the company had a contractual obligation regarding the use of the name, and that the period of the contract has ended. He insisted that the Trump Organization was never paid for use of the name.

“The goal is to assume a more neutral building identity that will appeal to all current and future renters,” McKenna said.

The company has owned the 1,325 rental units and carried the Trump branding since 2005. The buildings are among seven located between 72nd and 59th Streets along the Hudson River that Trump developed with a group of Hong Kong billionaires in the 1990s.

The Trump Place name will remain on complexes at 200, 220 and 240 Riverside Boulevard, which neither Equity Residential nor Trump own, according to Forbes. Trump’s home, Trump Tower, is located just a mile and a half east of Trump Place.

Equity Residential said in a statement: “EQR is in the process of rebranding three of its NYC buildings that are currently called Trump Place. Since the campaign and election, the Trump name has been politicized and as a public company EQR remains apolitical.”

The decision, however, comes in the wake of a residents petition started in October by Linda Gottlieb in response to the Republican politician’s “appalling treatment of women, his history of racism, his attacks on immigrants, his mockery of the disabled, his tax avoidance, his outright lying.”

The petition garnered more than 600 signatures. Residents cited that their rent was being used to create Trump’s net worth and they were embarrassed to live there while that name was attached to the building.

“We’re very pleased, people felt really good that they could do something,” Gottlieb told Bloomberg after news broke that the Trump signage would be scrapped. “It was an empowering way to protest. It wasn’t a random protest, it was a very specific protest.”

While those behind the petition are claiming responsibility for pushing the change the chairman of the company has dismissed the relevance of their protest in the decision.

“The tenants had no role in this,” Sam Zell, the chairman of Equity Residential, said, according to the New York Times.

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Meanwhile a spokesperson for The Trump Organization said the change is "simply the enforcement of a pre-existing agreement which has been in place for years" and added “it was mutually agreed upon.”

The changes are expected to be made this week but it isn’t the first time the billionaire’s name has been removed from the Manhattan skyline. In 2003 the Trump name was taken off the General Motors Building on Fifth Avenue, after the tycoon and his business partner agreed to sell it in order to settle a lawsuit over ownership.

In August 2015, WNYC compiled a tally of 17 New York city buildings bearing Trump’s name.