By Hugh Bronstein and Luc Cohen
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – The city of Buenos Aires has declined to authorize a permit to build an office tower linked to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, and developers will have to file new paperwork for it to be reconsidered, the city government said in a statement on Friday.
The “Trump Tower” project near Buenos Aires’ central obelisk made international headlines after a local news report said Trump mentioned the proposed office complex when Argentine President Mauricio Macri put in a congratulatory call to Trump after his Nov. 8 election victory.
The Macri administration said the reports were untrue and that the project was not mentioned during the call.
Trump, a businessman who has never held public office, has real estate and leisure holdings all over the world, sparking concerns his investments could color his decision-making in office.
The Buenos Aires city government issued its statement “in response to public interest in the possible construction of the so-called ‘Trump Tower’ in the center of Buenos Aires.”
A city spokesman said Trump’s name had not appeared in the permit requests, and The Trump Organization did not respond to an emailed request for comment on Friday evening.
Trump has said that he will hand over day-to-day responsibilities of running his company to his children, but he has resisted calls to place his assets in a blind trust.
The city’s statement said the project first surfaced in early 2007 when a firm identified as Kubic S.A. filed a building request for a plot of land now used as a parking lot at Cerrito 62 and Bartolome Mitre. The plan was approved, but expired when construction did not commence within a stipulated three-year period, the city’s statement said.
Last August, it said, a firm called Repetto Oeste SA sought to revive the 2007 plan, but the request was not authorized.
“For this reason,” the statement said, “there is no active building permit for the property in question, and the interested parties have to start the process from the beginning.”
An investor involved with the project proposed in 2007 told Reuters the office tower was put on hold and then sold during the global financial crisis. The permits had been challenging to secure due to restrictions on height in the area, he added.
(Additional reporting by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Andrew Hay)