NEW YORK -- Developer Donald Trump has added New York's posh Plaza Hotel to his real estate empire at a cost of $390 million and plans to upgrade the 81-year-old landmark to five-star status, officials said yesterday.
Trump won the 1,000-room landmark hotel on Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park in a bidding war with Philip Pilevsky and Arthur Cohen, two other Manhattan real estate developers, said the hotel's managing director Jeffrey Flowers.
Unlike Trump's other acquisitions in the New York area, the Plaza will retain its name and not bear its owner's moniker, said Flowers.
Trump said he planned to name his wife, Ivana, as the new president of the hotel and pay her $1 a year "plus all the dresses she can buy," The New York Times said yesterday.
Trump, who could not be reached for comment, paid $210 million for the real estate, which includes a small apartment building next door, and $180 million for the Plaza and its contents, the Times said.
The deal for Trump to take ownership in about three months was sealed last Friday and was expected to be announced shortly by Texas millionaire Robert Bass and the Aoki Corporation of Japan -- the hotel's current owners.
Bass and the Japanese company took control of the hotel three months ago as part of their $1.5 billion purchase of the Westin Hotels and Resorts chain from the Allegis Corporation.
Under the deal, Westin will continue to operate the hotel for at least two years, Flowers said.