Mar-a-Lago National Historic Landmark
Mar-a-Lago, Marjorie Merriweather Post's estate on Palm Beach Island.
|Location||1100 S. Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach, Florida, United States|
|Area||110,000 sq ft (10,000 m2)|
|NRHP Reference #||80000961|
|Added to NRHP||December 23, 1980|
|Designated NHL||December 23, 1980|
Mar-a-Lago (English pronunciation: /mɑɹ.ə.lɑ.goʊ/) is an estate and National Historic Landmark in Palm Beach, Florida, built from 1924 to 1927 by heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post. Post envisioned the house as a future winter retreat for American presidents and foreign dignitaries, and following her death in 1973 it was bequeathed to the nation. Successive presidents declined the use of the house, however, and it was returned to Post's estate in 1980. It was eventually sold to its present owner, Donald Trump (who later became President-elect of the United States) in 2016.
The 126-room, 110,000-square-foot (10,000 m2) house contains the Mar-a-Lago Club, a members-only club with guest rooms, a spa, and other hotel-style amenities. The Trump family maintains private quarters in a separate, closed-off area of the house and grounds.
The name Mar-a-Lago is a Portuguese word-for-word translation of "Sea-to-Lake."
Marjorie Merriweather Post built the house with her then-husband Edward F. Hutton. Post hired Marion Sims Wyeth to design it, and Joseph Urban to create interior design and exterior decorations. Upon her death in 1973, Post willed the 17-acre (69,000 m2) estate to the United States government as a Winter White House for presidents and visiting foreign dignitaries. Richard Nixon preferred the Florida White House in Key Biscayne, however, and Jimmy Carter was not interested. Not wanting to pay $1 million in annual taxes and maintenance costs, the government returned it to the Post Foundation in 1981, which listed it for sale for $20 million. Dina Merrill and Post's two other daughters did not maintain the property, expecting to sell it, but there was so little interest that the city approved its demolition to build smaller homes. Mar-a-Lago was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1980.
After unsuccessfully trying to purchase and combine two apartments in Palm Beach for his family, Donald Trump learned about the estate and offered $15 million. After the Post family rejected the offer, Trump threatened to block Mar-a-Lago's beach view, forcing the Post family to accept his last offer of less than $8 million in December 1985. Trump renovated the estate, adding a 20,000 square-foot ballroom to the 58 bedrooms, 33 bathrooms, a 29-foot-long (8.8 m) pietra dura marble top dining table, 12 fireplaces, and three bomb shelters. The club also has five clay tennis courts and a waterfront pool. Further additions have been made since then, including a 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) ballroom.
In the early 1990s Trump faced financial difficulties. While negotiating with his bankers, he promised to divide Mar-a-Lago into smaller properties, alarming Palm Beach residents; the city council rejected his plan to do so. Trump instead turned the estate into a private club that—unlike other Palm Beach old money resorts like the Bath and Tennis Club and Everglades Club—accepted Jews, blacks, and (as one Everglades member said) "people who try to call attention to themselves" like Trump himself—as members. The new club hosted concerts by Céline Dion and Billy Joel, had beauty-pageant contestants as guests, and violated local noise ordinances. Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley spent their honeymoon at Mar-a-Lago, and Sean Combs and Jennifer Lopez reportedly had public sex in front of the windows at the Bath and Tennis Club.
Mar-a-Lago has frequently hosted the International Red Cross Ball, an annual "white tie, tails, and tiara" ball. Founded by Post, it has a history of attracting wealthy socialites and ambassadors from across the world in support of the mission of the American Red Cross. In 2016, Trump was elected President, thereby realizing Post's vision of the house as a presidential retreat, nearly four decades after the government had rebuffed her bequest.
The Mar-a-lago Club
The primary business occupying the estate is the Mar-a-Lago Club, which operates as resort and hotel for dues-paying members, and rents out estate venues for private events. Membership at the Mar-a-lago Club requires a $100,000 initiation fee, plus $14,000 annual dues. Overnight guests pay up to $2,000 a night. According to financial disclosure forms filed by Donald Trump, the Mar-a-Lago Club realized $29.7 million in gross revenues in the period June 2015 to May 2016.
On October 3, 2006, Trump raised a 20-by-30-foot (6.1 by 9.1 m) American flag on an 80-foot (24 m) flagpole at Mar-a-Lago. Town zoning officials asked Trump to adhere to town zoning codes that limit flagpoles to a height of 42 feet (13 m). This dispute led the town council of Palm Beach to charge Trump $1,250 for every day that the flag stayed up. Trump filed a lawsuit against the Town of Palm Beach. Trump eventually dropped his lawsuit over the flag, and in exchange the town waived its fines. As part of a court-ordered mediation, Trump was allowed to file for a permit and keep a pole that was both 10 feet (3.0 m) shorter than the original pole and located on a different spot on his lawn. The agreement also required him to donate $100,000 to veterans’ charities, as well as resulted in a change to town ordinances allowing out-of-town enrollees in club membership. After being elected US president in 2016, Trump can fly a flag of any size on his estate.
In December 1997, Trump filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleging that the town was discriminating against Mar-a-Lago, in part because it was open to Jews and blacks.
Trump first filed such a lawsuit in 1995; that action was settled in 1996, with the county agreeing to collaborate with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and to change flight patterns so the noisiest jet aircraft flew over a wider area. As part of the settlement Trump leased 215 acres from the county, on which he built the 18-hole Trump International Golf Club. In July 2010, Trump filed another lawsuit aiming to stop the airport from constructing a second commercial runway. That suit was dismissed.
Trump filed a third suit against the county in January 2015, seeking $100 million in damages for "creating an unreasonable amount of noise, emissions and pollutants at Mar-a-Lago". Trump claims that officials pressured the FAA to direct air traffic to PBI over Mar-a-Lago in a "deliberate and malicious" act.
In November 2015, a Florida Circuit Court judge ruled against most of Trump's arguments, dismissing four of the six claims and allowing the others to proceed. Trump dropped the lawsuit after winning the presidency as the estate will likely have a no fly zone imposed by the FAA. In January 2017, Palm Beach exempted Mar-a-Lago from a ban on landing helicopters on residential properties while Trump is president, including his own fleet and Marine One.
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- "Mar-A-Lago". National Historic Landmarks Program. National Park Service.
- Draper, Robert (May 18, 2016). "Mr. Trump's Wild Ride". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
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- Mar-a-Lago HABS No. FLA-195
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- Time, August 1, 1980[full citation needed]
- Seal, Mark (February 2017). "How Donald Trump Beat Palm Beach Society and Won the Fight for Mar-a-Lago". Vanity Fair.
- Brown, Ian (2016-12-31). "A look inside Palm Beach, where wealthy Canadians are one degree of separation from Donald Trump". The Globe and Mail.
- Cecil N. McKithan (August 31, 1981). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Mar-a-Lago" (PDF). National Park Service. and Accompanying 4 photos, exterior, from 1967. (942 KB)
- "AssetDetail". focus.nps.gov. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
- "Trump Fights Property Taxes". Associated Press. March 29, 1988.
- Mazzei, Patricia (2017-01-17). "Haughty Palm Beach learns to love Trump, once a scorned outsider". Miami Herald.
- "Current Standings". 2015 People's Choice Award (Florida Architecture). Retrieved March 10, 2016.
- Putzier, Konrad (January 2, 2017). "Inside Donald Trump's winter retreat". The Real Deal. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
Ironically, when Mar-a-Lago’s first owner Marjorie Meriweather Post died in 1973, she left the estate to the federal government hoping it would become a vacation home for Presidents. But the government wasn’t interested, and later Trump bought it.
- Jordan, Mary. "Inside Trump's Palm Beach castle and his 30-year fight to win over the locals". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
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- Journal, Jacqueline Bueno Staff Reporter of The Wall Street (1997-04-30). "Trump's Palm Beach Club Roils the Old Social Order". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
- Reid, Andy (December 11, 2015). "Trump's Airport Lawsuit Lingers as Presidential Bid Heats Up". South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
- Playford, Adam (July 20, 2010). "Trump Sues to Prevent Runway Expansion". Palm Beach Post.
- Sedensky, Matt (January 13, 2015). "Trump Sues for $100M, Says Air Traffic Targets Him". USA Today. Retrieved February 23, 2015.
- "Mar-a-Lago no-fly zone renders Trump lawsuit moot".
- "President Elect Trump Given Permission to Land Helicopter at Mar-A-Lago Estate". Heliweb. January 2017.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mar-a-Lago.|
- Official website
- Donald Trump's house (Mar-a-Lago)
- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. FL-195, "Mar-a-Lago, 1100 South Ocean Boulevard, Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, FL", 108 photos, 37 data pages, supplemental material
- Nylander, Justin A. (2010). Casas to Castles: Florida's Historic Mediterranean Revival Architecture. Atglen, Pa.: Schiffer Publishing. ISBN 0764334352.