More than a half-century after President Kennedy pressed for a renewal of a then-blighted Pennsylvania Avenue, another experienced presidential candidate is making his mark on Washington’s grand boulevard.
Developer Donald Trump, who last year won a General Services Administration 60-year lease to renovate the historic Old Post Office, has offered a glimpse of his plans for a 271-room luxury hotel that preserves the 19th-century exterior. In New York Times business story published Wednesday, Trump described the 16-foot-ceiling rooms that “will be the largest of any of the rooms in D.C.,” and supplied the paper with an artist’s rendering of the planned 13,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom of Trump International Hotel. “It’s very unusual to have that frontage on such an unusual thoroughfare,” Trump said. “We’re looking to make that one of the great hotels of the world.”
It’s a far cry from the long-empty food court and offices of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, which GSA was required to relocate (they moved this month to 7th Street Southwest). Trump plans to complete the Post Office renovation in time for the 2017 inauguration.
Asked why Trump was selected, GSA chief Dan Tangherlini said, “It was a combination of the viability of the business plan, the quality of the commitment to preserving the asset and a sense that this was the best deal on the table for the American taxpayer.”
Trump, who is seldom content to rest on his laurels, told the reporter he now has his eyes on the site of the FBI building, whose occupants are slated to move to a new and larger facility on a site GSA is still selecting.