By now, many of you have probably seen the international coverage of the decision by the Trump Ocean Club homeowners association to drop the Trump Condominium Management and hire a new management company. With Donald Trump running for President, the dispute made for a catchy headline—“Panama condo owners to Trump: You’re fired!”—but there is much more to the story than portrayed in the coverage.
As president of the board of the Trump Ocean Club homeowners association, I can assure you this is good news for owners and investors. The dispute with Trump management was long and contentious, but they were voted out by an almost unanimous vote. The owners came together and asserted their rights to make sure everyone’s investment is protected and the building is run to top international standards.
I’ve been serving on the board for the past year and it has often been a frustrating experience as owners worked hard to make improvements and get answers from management. Now the owners can participate in decisions that affect the property. The owners are back in control, as they should be.
New management will bring immediate advantages. One of the key goals for owners was to create more financial transparency. Now that there is separation between the hotel operation and the condominium management, owners will get a much clearer picture of how money is being spent.
Already expenses are coming down dramatically and efficiency is going up. More than $900,000 has been cut from the budget and new management is streamlining the operation. These changes will impact the bottom line for all owners, helping to control costs and keep ROI high for investors.
Meanwhile there are a couple of concerns that I can address:
– The residential condos are selling at a very healthy pace with less than 50 currently available as the developer enters its “close out” phase. Although there are still more than 200 hotel-condo suites available from the developer, these are a very different product with a different market. Trump Ocean apartments remain the gold standard for Panama City and we’re continuing to see growing interest in the remaining apartments.
– The change of the residential administrator has no impact on the name of the building or the Trump Collection being the hotel operator. Owners will still benefit from the prestige of the Trump brand and the Trump expertise in running the highest-quality hotels.
For all of us who have been struggling with these issues in recent months, it has been an often frustrating and trying experience. Tempers flared and accusations were made. But now we’re ready to move forward, with the focus on making sure all owners are enjoying the Trump experience and getting the most out of their investment.
If you have any questions, please free to contact me here.
Duncan McGowan is president of Punta Pacifica Realty, a Panama real estate agency focused on Punta Pacifica, the exclusive neighborhood of 18 towers perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.