After winning the 2016 election, President Donald Trump stepped back from running his real estate company and handed the reins to his sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, who quickly announced plans to open a new line of hotels called Scion.
But now those plans appear to be falling apart.
The first Scion would open in the Mississippi Delta in early 2018. A second line of hotels, called American Idea, would soon follow, with three in Mississippi and more than a dozen elsewhere. In all, the Trump Organization said it had preliminary agreements to open 39 new properties.
This was the brothers’ primary and boldest idea for expanding the family business — a push into markets that it had long overlooked, they said.
A year and a half later, progress has been slow. The first Scion, in Cleveland, Miss., remains nearly a year from completion. The first two American Idea hotels, in the same area, will not open until later this year.
And no projects outside of Mississippi have publicly materialized, giving Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump little to celebrate following a two-year stretch overseeing their father’s business. During that time, the company became the target of federal court cases and lost deals in some markets after partners complained about the brand.
The Trump sons’ partners in the Mississippi venture, Dinesh Chawla and his brother Suresh, said the plans are still intact:
But Dinesh Chawla now says that at the direction of Trump Organization executives, he has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and the better part of a year reworking the Scion so it will be capable of attracting meetings, concerts and festivals to Cleveland.
Chawla said he anticipates spending $5 million more on the project than originally planned.
Outside of Mississippi, there isn’t much happening, despite Trump Hotel’s chief executive Eric Danziger’s announcement last year that he had signed 39 letters of intent for hotels across the U.S.
The Trump Organization declined to comment on how many hotels are in the works presently but issued a statement from Danziger saying the Trump Organization has “enjoyed the process of working with the Chawlas and have great respect for them.”