You’ll Never Guess Where Trump’s Sons Are Looking to Expand Their Luxury Hotel Business Yet
The Trump Organization has its sights set on the struggling Mississippi Delta to build two of its newest luxury hotels.
The company, led by President Donald Trump’s sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, is taking a gamble on the tiny, commercial town of Cleveland, Miss., an area bordered by cotton and soy bean fields where 36 percent of the population lives in poverty and newer businesses are hard to come by, The Washington Post reported.
The brothers insist the lodgings will be an economic boon to the city, a majority-Black area with a population of just over 12,000. In June, they announced the debut of two new hotel brands there and in two nearby towns, starting with a 4-star, 100-room Scion hotel designed to mimic an antebellum plantation.
After bringing them up to Trump hotel standards, the company said it plans to reopen two Comfort Inns and a Rodeway Inn and then use those properties to launch its newest brand, called “American Idea,” according to the newspaper. Such a move by national hotel chain is practically unheard of, especially in one of America’s poorest areas. For one, the city lacks a commercial airport and doesn’t have an easily accessible interstate.
Most other hotel chains might’ve considered these road blocks, but the Trump Organization remains undeterred as they look to tap into the Mississippi Delta’s tourism industry. The hotels stand to face little to no competition from other businesses, as Cleveland’s hotel stock is severely lacking, according to Judson Thigpen, the executive director for Cleveland-Bolivar County’s Chamber of Commerce. With roughly 280 rooms, most visitors are forced to stay at hotels half a mile away, he said.
“That’s money that we’re not getting in the town because we don’t have the capacity,” Thingpen told The Washington Post.
While the new hotels will be conveniently located in the heart of Trump’s political base, the area’s closest residents likely won’t even be able to afford its prices. According to 2015 U.S. census data, more than 53 percent of children in Bolivar County are brought up in poverty, and the median household income sits below $35,000.
Meanwhile, the average price of a room at the Trump International Hotel in New York starts at $495, depending on the season. A night’s stay at the luxury Trump hotel in Washington, D.C can cost $660.28, on average, according to the company website.
Some locals remain skeptical that the high end hotels will do well in the Cleveland area, especially if the city’s African-American residents fail to frequent them. A whopping 64 percent of Bolivar County’s population is Black.
“I think if the Trumps’ bottom-line profits for a hotel in the Mississippi Delta are predicated on Black people coming and spending money, I think they’re in serious trouble,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) told The Washington Post.
Don Allan Mitchell, chair of languages and literature at Delta State, had a slight difference in opinion, describing the hotels as “one of those opportunities that I’m not sure we could pass up but at the same time it does bring with it the political baggage.”
“We’re enough of a community where we can have this civil conversation,” he added. “We can agree to disagree without screaming at one another. Or getting on Twitter.”