Housing Complex

Trumptastic! The Donald Wins the Old Post Office

Holy shit. Looks like this Thursday's hearing might've lit a fire under the General Services Administration's butt, and they went ahead and awarded the Old Post Office to the Trump Organization.

It's a win for the guy who last renovated the place, Arthur Cotton Moore, who consulted for the Trumps on their bid. The tipster who spotted Ivanka Trump on a tour of the building last April remembers Moore at her side as well.

It's a loss for the Jews, who might've gotten a museum in the Annex along with a hotel, as well as the media, which might've gotten a newer, glitzier National Press Club. Along with a handful of other prospective hotel developers, like JBG and Hilton Worldwide, which wanted to turn the place into a Waldorf Astoria.

According to New York Post real estate guru Lois Weiss, Trump's in the deal with Santa Monica-based Colony Capital, which also owns properties with Trump like New York City's Mayfair Hotel.

Here's what we know about the plan, per a GSA release: "The Trump Organization proposal calls for converting the Old Post Office to a luxury hotel with more than 250 rooms, along with world renowned restaurants, a spa, and conference facilities, while preserving and enhancing all of its historic features."

Other notes, added after this post was originally published:

  • Trump had to have known that he'd won the bid when he endorsed the guy he believes will be the next president. A Mitt Romney administration sure would be good news for Trump's hotel across from the White House, if Democrats turn up their noses. [UPDATE, 6:13 p.m.GSA says they alerted the Trump Organization it had won this morning, so if Donald was looking out for his real estate interests, the decision was purely speculative.]
  • The Post reports that "the company would take great care to preserve the building’s exterior while incorporating its brand into the redevelopment." They'll have to go through the federal Section 106 process for historic federal buildings, so the public will have a chance to weigh in.
  • For those who care about such things, an official with a New York hotel workers union tells me their relationship with the Trump Organization is "positive" (not the case with Hyatt, for example).

Full release after the jump.

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General Services Administration Selects the Trump Organization as Preferred Developer for DC’s Old Post Office

Action leverages nearly $200 million in private sector funds to restore and reuse a National Historic Landmark

Washington, DC — Today, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced it has selected the Trump Organization as the preferred team to redevelop the Old Post Office building and annex located in downtown Washington, D.C.  Selecting the Trump Organization to redevelop this historic property represents a significant step in turning this underused Federal property into a mixed-use development that will serve the DC community and save money for the Federal Government.

“Deciding to move forward with redeveloping this iconic property potentially will save millions in taxpayer dollars. The tremendous response from the private sector allowed us to select a proposal that will provide a positive economic return for the Federal Government and better utilize a historic property on our nation’s Main Street,” said Robert Peck, GSA’s Commissioner of the Public Buildings Service.

The Old Post Office is located at the corner of 12th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in the Federal Triangle neighborhood.  Recognizing that the building had outlived its usefulness as Federal office space, Congress directed GSA in 2008 to enter into a long term lease for the Old Post Office under Section 111 of the National Historic Preservation Act, thereby guaranteeing the restoration and retention of all of its historic features while allowing the private sector to determine how to develop it to its fullest potential.

“The Trump Organization plan will preserve the historic nature of the building and improve the vitality of Pennsylvania Avenue,” continued Peck. “This redevelopment represents good business sense on behalf of the American taxpayer, the Federal Government and the District of Columbia.”

After closely evaluating the submissions, GSA determined the Trump Organization proposal represented the strongest development team, best long term potential for the local community, and most consistent stream of revenue for the Federal Government. GSA is committed to effectively and efficiently managing the Federal real estate footprint to achieve the best value for America’s taxpayers and communities, consistent with the President’s Campaign to Cut Waste.

The Trump Organization proposal calls for converting the Old Post Office to a luxury hotel with more than 250 rooms, along with world renowned restaurants, a spa, and conference facilities, while preserving and enhancing all of its historic features.

In accordance with the request for proposal, GSA and the Trump Organization will spend the next year negotiating a detailed agreement for the building’s redevelopment – specifying building usage, historic preservation requirements and details of the Federal Government’s revenue stream. GSA will only move forward if an agreement is reached that provides a positive return for the taxpayer.

While negotiations proceed, GSA will relocate the existing Federal tenants in the Old Post Office, including the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

If negotiations proceed as anticipated, redevelopment of the Old Post Office is expected to commence in 2014 with occupancy in 2016. At the end of the lease, control of the building will revert to the Federal Government.

For more information about the historic Old Post Office, visit: http://www.gsa.gov/oldpostoffice

Illustration by Brooke Hatfield.

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