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(Carl Cronan is editor of Real EstateFlorida.)

TAMPA, FL-Donald J. Trump’s planned local condominium tower, originally promoted to be the tallest structure on Florida’s Gulf Coast, will not move past the groundbreaking stage, at least with his name on it. The New York City real estate icon has settled a lawsuit with the $300-million project’s development partners, likely laying the project to rest.

Trump sued SimDag-RoBEL LLC in May 2007 to recover more than $2 million in fees he claimed to be owed for the right to put his name on the proposed 52-story luxury condos, called Trump Tower Tampa. The developer countersued, saying Trump should have never made his licensing arrangement public. Mediation in the suit ended Monday with no specific terms disclosed.

Trump announced the Tampa project in January 2005, near the height of the city’s condo boom and his own popularity from NBC’s reality show “The Apprentice,” offering 190 units priced from $700,000 to $5.5 million. “Trump Tower Tampa will undoubtedly have a phenomenal impact on the city,” he stated at the time.

However, numerous problems plagued the project over the past three years, such as rising construction costs, soil issues with the 1.5-acre site along the Hillsborough River and the developer’s inability to secure financing in a tightening credit market. SimDag filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June.

Although a formal groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site a few months after Trump’s announcement, little more than foundation work was ever performed. Weeds are now growing behind a fence that once carried the Trump Tower Tampa logo, and city officials have demanded that the owners clean up the site.

Several other condo projects in Downtown Tampa have advanced beyond their announcements, while those that have been completed or are under way represent a mixed bag. The 32-story Skypoint condo tower was built during the time Trump’s project was on hold and continues to offer units for sale, and construction continues on the similarly designed Element tower.

In the nearby Channel District, the Place at Channelside is scheduled to sell 171 units in a single lot during an Oct. 15 auction with a minimum bid of just over $17 million, representing the first such sale of its kind in Florida. Meanwhile, the 29-story Towers of Channelside have emerged from Chapter 11 with a new plan to sell 150 remaining units.

Trump has five successful commercial real estate developments in South Florida, along with his Mar-A-Lago estate in Palm Beach. The Tampa condos were his only project attempt anywhere else in Florida.

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