The downsides of living at Chicago’s Trump Tower
Having lived at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago for six months, I’ve become accustomed to the high level of service the building provides. Multiple doormen and attendants on stand-by, 24 hour room service, and unparalleled views of the city are just a few of the perks I experience daily. As my life coach has explained to me, however, positives can’t exist without negatives, so here are ten downsides to consider before you rent or buy at Trump Tower Chicago:
1. The gym is NOT open 24 hours. Having moved to Trump from a building that allows 24×7 access to the gym, and having developed a habit of staying up till 5AM, the hours of Trump’s fitness center aren’t conducive to my nocturnal lifestyle. The gym is rather fancy though when it is open, providing iced towels, apples, and lemon-water to all patrons.
2. Security is tight. A key fob is required to access the elevators, and you are only able to access the one floor on which you live. That prevents you from sneaking up to the 84th floor to stalk Derrick Rose. All guests and food delivery personnel are escorted to your unit when they arrive. My first night in my unit I ordered a pizza and was surprised when after the doorman called me to inform me of my food’s arrival, a Trump security team member then escorted the pizza delivery man up to my unit. A friend of mine who had never been to Trump recently visited me. Impressed by the grandeur of the lobby, he whipped out his phone to take some pictures while the doorman called up for me. He was promptly told that taking photos in the lobby is prohibited.
3. Excessive move-in fees. You won’t find this mentioned in ads for Trump rentals, but renting requires a $750 move-in fee, another $750 move-in security deposit, a $900 lease processing fee, and mandatory renter’s insurance. There is also of course a $750 move-out fee, should you ever decide to leave. A lease processing fee might make sense if I was leasing directly from Trump and they needed to run background and credit checks, but in fact, one doesn’t lease from Trump directly. One leases from individual unit owners. The lease I signed is a contract between myself and my landlord, a copy of which is then submitted to Trump’s management. Prior to signing, I called Trump’s management office to inquire about this curious $900 lease processing fee.
Me: Hi, I’m considering renting at Trump, and I was wondering about the $900 lease processing fee.
Me: Well I was just wondering what that $900 is for.
Trump: It’s the lease processing fee. So it’s to process the lease.
4. Your moving company will hate you. When I first contacted my moving company to tell them I was moving to Trump, my excitement was greeted with sighs and grunts. Trump is an excellent building in which to live, I was told, but a royal pain-in-the-ass in which to move. Movers are assigned a 4-hour time slot by which they can use the freight elevator to transport furniture, but apparently the loading dock is always so busy that there are endless delays. Additionally, loading dock security is so tight that it was a 45-minute process for my movers to be authorized before anything could actually be moved. Lastly, Trump requires masonite boarding to be placed from the freight elevator entrance all the way to the unit entrance to prevent damage to the carpet. Should your moving company not have masonite boards or not have enough of them, Trump assesses a $400 fee and provides the boarding for you.
5. You will be shocked. The carpet in the hallways is thick and plush, such that when you walk from the elevator, down the hallway to your unit, you are shocked from touching the metal door handle to enter your unit. This can be mitigated, however, by rubbing the wall before touching the door handle. Apparently, the wall destaticizes you.
6. Sensitive hardwood floors. So sensitive in fact, that my lease contained an addendum stating that I wouldn’t allow anyone wearing high heels to walk around the unit because the heels would damage the hardwood. The listing agent informed me that this particular flooring is $30/square foot, and so replacing the floors in a 2,700 square foot unit would cost a cool $81,000. Sorry Carrie Bradshaw, you can’t come over.
7. Parking lot elevator separate from unit elevators. Having moved to Trump from a building where there’s ONE set of elevators, and said elevators take you to both the parking garage levels and the residence floors, this is an annoyance more than anything else. You have to walk through the lobby and past the door staff to enter the separate set of parking garage elevators, where you must then use your key fob to access the specific floor on which your car is parked. It’s an 8-minute process from the time I leave my unit to the time my car has exited the parking structure.
8. Comcast. When I first moved in, cable and Internet was provided by RCN. Just a month after, however, Trump’s Homeowner’s Association switched its bulk provider agreement to Comcast. Residents could continue to use RCN at retail rates if they chose, but Comcast was now the preferred vendor. Trump’s reputation is one of opulence, luxury, and service, while Comcast’s is that of the worst company in America.
9. This damn dishwasher. This Miele dishwasher is standard-issue in all of the units, and it has the unfortunate feature of beeping ad infinitum after it completes a cycle. Don’t even think about starting a cycle before hitting the sack, as you will surely be awoken by the endless beeping 90 minutes later. Nothing can stop the beeping, other than a sledge hammer, or getting up, walking over to the dishwasher, and opening it. There apparently is a solution to this, although it must take a rocket scientist to implement, because I tried it and failed.
10. No meeting/party rooms. Most condominium buildings in Chicago come equipped with a common area, party room, or meeting space that can be rented inexpensively or even for free by residents. At my previous building, Parc Chestnut, I frequently used the meeting room to conduct interviews for my business, hold seminars, and play foosball. Trump, however, has no such facility in the residential tower, and anyone needing such a facility is directed to the hotel side, where you’ll engage the banquet services team. Rest assured, you won’t be renting a party room for $50 like you can in most Chicago high rises.
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