3 / 17    

Donald Trump's Best and Worst Gambles

Photo Credit: Mark Guim

» more from CNBC Titans

Trump Tower

In 1980, Trump began construction on his second major project in New York City. He planned to build a $200 million luxury high-rise on the site of the Bonwitt Teller building. Trump Tower would provide tenants with upscale stores, high-end office space and luxurious condominiums with breathtaking views of the city.

To do this, Trump Tower needed to be taller than its neighbors, presenting a unique challenge. One of the major obstacles for getting the project off the ground was air rights. Air rights determine the maximum height of a building, and Trump had secured enough to construct a 48-story skyscraper, but he wanted more. He turned to his next-door neighbor, Tiffany & Co., and compelled them to sell their unused air rights for $5 million, allowing him to add 20 stories.

All the effort paid off and in early 1983, the still-notable Trump Tower opened.

Photo Credit: Mark Guim