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Trump's Childhood Home Has Become an Overgrown Eyesore, Neighbors Say

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | June 2, 2017 4:07pm | Updated on June 4, 2017 5:43pm
 Neighbors complain that Donald Trump’s boyhood home in Jamaica Estates has become an eyesore.
Neighbors complain that Donald Trump’s boyhood home in Jamaica Estates has become an eyesore.
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Courtesy of Deborah Ayala-Braun

QUEENS — When President Donald Trump’s boyhood home in Jamaica Estates sold in March for $2.14 million, locals expected property values in their neighborhood to soar.

Months-long media buzz surrounding the sale of the property at 85-15 Wareham Pl. near Henley Road — where Trump was born and lived until he was 4 — included speculations that one day it might become an official historic site.

But a little more than two months after the sale closed, the house appears to be deserted and knee-deep grass which has not been trimmed since March shelters various pests and neighborhood cats, neighbors complain.

“It’s been left unkempt and anyone who sees it is going to consider it abandoned,” said Deborah Ayala-Braun, who lives next door, and worries that properties in the area may now see a drop in value instead.

Neighbors said that power and gas were cut off weeks ago and the only people still interested in the 2,500-square-foot brick-and-stucco Tudor are a group of people who come on a daily basis and take pictures of the property.

The five-bedroom house which also features four-and-a-half bathrooms, a living room with a fireplace and a two-car garage, was auctioned earlier this year after real estate mogul Michael Davis bought it from previous property owners, the Kestenbergs, for $1.39 million in December.

The Kestenbergs, who are restaurateurs in Manhattan, purchased the house in 2008 for $782,500, and decided to sell it because they were getting divorced, according to Misha Haghani, owner of Paramount Realty USA, which handled the auction.

Haghani said that Paramount, who represented the seller, cannot do anything about the current situation, except to notify the buyer's attorney.

The property, built by Trump's father in 1940, was purchased by an entity called Trump Birth House LLC, but the name of the person behind it has not been revealed.

According to published reports, the buyer is said to be a woman from China.

Michael Tang, a lawyer representing Trump Birth House, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment, but his assistant said that the office is aware of the problem.

Courtesy of Deborah Ayala-Braun

Haghani said that he still thinks the property will at some point be turned into a museum or library.

“I think long-term something like that will inevitably happen, whether this owner does it or a subsequent owner does it,” he said. “But it doesn’t have to happen today.”

But neighbors, who said they were concerned about their children playing near the house, said they did not want to wait years for the site to be revamped.

"As the summertime is coming, I do not want to be fearful of what’s going to bite them or what's going to happen if someone breaks in there,” said Ayala-Braun, who has three young daughters.

“This is what $2 million gets you — an abandoned house and a foreign investor in your neighborhood,” she added.