Trump Hotel in DC : Congress Reviews Lease Plans

By Ron Dory, Epoch Times
June 8, 2013 Updated: June 8, 2013

WASHINGTON—The Trump Organization’s plans to convert the historic Old Post Office Pavilion and Clock Tower into a luxury hotel are moving forward. The General Securities Administration announced June 5 that negotiations on a 60-year lease with the Trump Organization are complete. 

Congress will review the pending agreement for 30 days, according to the GSA announcement on June 5. As part of the agreement, that took one year to reach, $200 million in private funds will be invested to renovate the 114-year-old building in the Federal Triangle neighborhood, at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, in walking distance of the White House. 

The agreement will save the federal government from having to renovate the building with tax dollars, but it will also close part of the 1899 historic structure to the public. Nearly all of Washington’s parks, gardens, galleries, museums and historic structures are free and open to the public.

The clock tower will remain open to the public under the management of the National Parks Service according to the GSA. It and the building are among the top tourist attractions in DC. The tower offers striking views of the city.

“It is a great honor and privilege to be given the responsibility of transforming one of our country’s most important landmarks into what will be one of the great hotels of the world,” stated Donald Trump, chairman and president of The Trump Organization, in a press release. 

His company plans to retain the historic Richardsonian Romanesque Revival façade of the building, while adding a more than 260 room hotel with presidential suites, penthouses, a bar and lounge, fine dining restaurants and other amenities. 

However, it was not the plush amenities that lead the GSA to choose the Trump company for the project according to statements from the GSA. It was rather the strength of its development team and its revenue projections for the Federal Government that stood out from competitors for the project. Colony Capital, LLC partnered with Trump on the proposal to co-invest in the project. 

“GSA is committed to delivering the best value for the American people and managing federal real estate assets efficiently. We are pleased that the negotiations have finished and the deal now moves to Congress for review, “said Dan Tangherlini, GSA Acting Administrator in a press release. 

As a location where money and power converge, Washington, has arguably lacked the panache of other world-class cities like New York and London. However, with the projects like the Trump International hotel slated to open in 2016 and the City Center DC project nearing completion, it appears that property developers aim to change that. 

Yet with the changes to the Washington landscape, the question arises of whether the culture of the federal government will change if luxurious private amenities fill the environs of the capitol.