Is the presence of Secret Service agents at Trump Tower really an amenity?

By Alanna Schubach | December 7, 2016 - 9:59AM 

With president-elect Donald Trump using Trump Tower as the site of negotiations with world leaders and possible cabinet appointees, the Fifth Avenue building has become overrun with heavy security—not to mention protestors, press, and loads of traffic.

According to Fortune, it looks as though all the hubbub is proving too much of a hassle for current residents, dozens of whom have put their homes on the market. Prospective tenants also seem reluctant to move in, and 39 percent of the units have seen recent price reductions. 

And with Melania Trump planning to stay in New York with son Barron, the Secret Service is mulling over the possibility of renting a floor in the building to protect the soon-to-be First Family, reports CNN. The resulting throngs of reporters, protestors, and police blockades that visitors and residents must pass through prompted Forbes to ask earlier this week, "Is Trump Tower Now the Worst Address in America?" 

One could argue that there is an upside to the circus: With highly trained Secret Service agents on patrol, the property is under the watch of the country's foremost security experts. And one brokerage for Trump Tower apartments has seized upon this idea. Politico writes that Douglas Elliman agents are advertising the building as boasting a unique amenity: Secret Service protection. 

A spokesperson for Douglas Elliman declined to comment, though a source close to the firm noted that the listing was run without its knowledge or approval. 

In a city recently startled by a bomb found in Chelsea, safety is on many people's minds, and New Yorkers who can afford it often opt for buildings that offer tight security. As the New York Times reported, residential properties are installing increasingly sophisticated surveillance systems, so it stands to reason that the presence of the agents trained to protect the president could make residents feel especially protected.

That said, one of the main purposes of the Secret Service is to protect individuals who are more likely to be targeted, so does their taking up shop in your building really instill a sense of security? Mayor Bill de Blasio has acknowledged the risk of housing a president and his family in the city: In a letter to President Obama, he asked the federal government to pick up the tab for Trump Tower security costs, noting "an unprecedented and unique target for potential terrorist activity." 

Whether having the Secret Service as a neighbor mitigates that danger—at least in the minds of potential tenants—will remain to be seen, but as the Politico piece points out, six of the active sales and six of the active rentals in the property have recently dropped their prices. 


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