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Diplomats vs. developer as U.N. building battle brews

Trump
Trump feels that many of his critics will eventually purchase homes in the building  

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The world may soon learn who is more powerful: U.N. diplomats or The Donald.

Famous developer Donald Trump is getting closer to building the world's tallest residential building. When completed, the skyscraper will be 90 stories tall.

"The height is what makes it great, the height is what makes it grand," said Trump. "The height is what makes it unique, and ultimately the height is what will make it a great city landmark."

The Trump World Tower will "tower over" the current tallest building in the area, the 38-story U.N. Secretariat Building. And that's not going over very well with many in the neighborhood and some at the United Nations.

Ukraine's ambassador to the United Nations, Volodymr Yel'chenko, has reservations about Trump's design.

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"In my mind, it will not fit here because it overshadows the United Nations complex," Yel'chenko said.

China's deputy ambassador, Shen Guofang, is concerned about how the tower's residents will add to congestion in the area.

"In New York City, there are a lot of tall buildings, but in this area, I think the traffic is very serious, heavy traffic," Shen said.

Another senior U.N. official, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed strong concern that the proposed building would change the entire character of the U.N. neighborhood, even causing security concerns.

Trump is now in the process of tearing down the old building on the site before he starts construction on the new tower, which already has been approved by the city.

neighborhood
An artist's image shows what the neighborhood will look like after Trump World Tower (right) is built near the U.N. Secretariat building  

Nevertheless, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has taken the unusual step of discussing the project with New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

A senior U.N. official also said legal action is being considered to stop the Trump building.

Trump has diplomatically said he likes the United Nations and the job it does.

And he said he believes many of his U.N. critics "are going to end up buying apartments in the building."

Correspondent Gary Tuchman contributed to this report.

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