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Trump Place Residents Now Signing A Petition To Change Their Building's Name

"Trump’s appalling treatment of women, his history of racism, his attacks on immigrants, his mockery of the disabled, his tax avoidance, his outright lying," a petition said, are "antithetical to the values we and our families believe in."

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Julia Reinstein / BuzzFeed News

Amid growing embarrassment at their building's name, residents at Trump Place on Manhattan's Upper West Side have begun petitioning their building to change it.

As was first reported by BuzzFeed News, the renters of the apartments at 140, 160, and 180 Riverside Blvd. wanted the candidate's gold-plated name removed and refused to call the building by its original owner's name.

Instead, they've been calling it "Equity Residential" — the real estate company that's owned the property since 2007 — or simply by their address.

Many of the residents told BuzzFeed News they want the name removed from the building — or even have their rent lowered — as compensation for what they say is a property devalued by its name.

On Oct. 17, hundreds of residents received this flier under their door, which promoted a petition for building management to "dump the Trump name."

The petition says, "Trump’s appalling treatment of women, his history of racism, his attacks on immigrants, his mockery of the disabled, his tax avoidance, his outright lying" are "antithetical to the values we and our families believe in."

Linda Gottlieb, the petition's creator, said she found it "insulting" that her building's staff, many of whom are immigrants and people of color, have to work in a building bearing Trump's name.

"The utter hypocrisy just got to me," Gottlieb said.

With the help of her husband and a neighbor, she printed 900 fliers and slid them under her neighbors' doors.

More than 400 people have signed the petition in its first week, many leaving comments calling the name "a disgrace to NYC" and saying it "represents everything horrible and despicable on this Earth."

David Hartie, a resident who heard about the petition and "signed immediately," said he and his wife debated for over a year before choosing to live there, their "biggest gripe" being its name.

"Maybe, just maybe, there was a time where the name symbolized something good to some, but I think that those days are waning," he said.

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Marty McKenna, Equity Residential's vice president of investor and public relations, told BuzzFeed News they "have a contractual obligation regarding the use of the name."

"We will assess the continued use of the name at the appropriate time, taking into consideration the issues raised by the residents in their petition," McKenna said.

Even so, changes may already be underway. According to building residents, doormen and concierges are in the process of getting new uniforms that will no longer have Trump's name on them.

Shruti Pandey, who's lived in Trump Place for three years, said her husband emailed building management about a month and a half ago to express their desire for a name change and said it was "surprisingly quite well-received" and they said "they would look into it."

"There was a whole email thread back and forth, and funnily enough, the person who responded to him at one point changed her signature from 160 Trump Place to 160 Riverside Blvd.," Pandey said.

It's a bit of a different story at the Trump Place buildings at 200 and 220 Riverside Blvd., which — unlike the Equity-owned buildings — are still managed by Trump International Realty.

A petition, first reported by the New York Times, at the 220 Riverside Blvd. building circulated in August calling for the removal of the name — but not a change in the building's management.

In the 419-unit building, the petition received signatures from 57 owners and 24 renters. Most residents there own their apartments and were not quite as keen to make the change, even though many told BuzzFeed News they oppose Donald Trump.

The overwhelming concern is the possible cost of the name's removal. Some residents have heard it would run $1,000,000 and be on them to cover — though none knew where that information came from.

This community of Trump-managed apartments also includes the building at 240 Riverside Blvd., which goes by the name "The Heritage." The petition points this out as proof that "it is possible for a building to have a non-Trump name on it but to have Trump management."

Julia Reinstein / BuzzFeed News

"I don’t detect a groundswell of support. I’m for it if it passes, and neutral if it doesn’t," apartment owner Don Reese told BuzzFeed News.

"Like I tell people, it’s not like he’s moving in with us," Reese said. "One person did joke, 'Why don’t we save money — because they’re talking $200,000 a [letter] — and we take the T off and make it Rump Place?'"

"We love the building, but we’re not happy with him," a retired dermatologist, who introduced himself as Dr. Kossick, said. "Whether it’s worth it to spend the money to remove his name, whether it would make any difference, I don’t know. There might be a better use for a million dollars than to remove his name."

One woman, who declined to give her name, said she can't imagine this happening in her home country in Northern Europe. She said she'd be willing to pay "if it's reasonable," and could not point to a source for the $1 million figure.

"I find it’s more scaremongering than anything else," she said. "That’s ridiculous, and I actually find it a bit Trump-esque. I don’t know where those numbers come from."

If the petition succeeds, it won't be the first time Trump's name is stripped from a building.

The General Motors Building, which Trump bought in 1998, was sold to Harry Macklowe in 2003. The signature gold letters, which spelled out Trump's name on the building exterior, were surreptitiously removed under the cover of nightfall.

Two photographers, who attempted to capture photos of the removal, were threatened by a security guard.

UPDATE

A spokesperson for the Trump Organization responded with the following statement:

“The sole focus of our property management division is to provide unparalleled white glove service, meticulous attention to detail and a warm friendly atmosphere. We are incredibly proud of the strong, lasting relationships we have built over the years with board members, owners and the wonderful staff. We will continue to exceed all expectations while providing the highest levels of luxury and service.”

Julia Reinstein is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Julia Reinstein at julia.reinstein@buzzfeed.com.

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