GSA and Trump Ink Final Deal on Washington Old Post Office

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

The General Services Administration on Wednesday announced a final agreement with the Trump Organization to lease the historic but half-vacant Old Post Office Building on Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest.

Under a 60-year lease negotiated over the past year, Trump will invest $200 million of his own money to modernize the 114-year-old landmark structure for conversion to mixed-use development -- including one of the mogul’s signature luxury hotels.

“Redeveloping the Old Post Office with a private sector partner will save millions of taxpayer dollars while restoring a unique and important historic asset,” acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini said in a statement. “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.”

Donald Trump, the company’s chairman and president, said, “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.”

His daughter Ivanka, the firm’s executive vice president of development and acquisitions, said it had “been a tremendous pleasure to work with the GSA and the numerous agencies and organizations that have been involved in getting us to this important milestone in the project’s redevelopment. Our plans are virtually complete and we look forward to starting construction immediately upon turnover of the building.”

The Old Post Office houses the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, all of which GSA is preparing to relocate. Parts of the structure were previously developed as a food court and shopping center that were unsuccessful. In 2008, Congress passed the Old Post Office Redevelopment Act directing GSA to dispose of the property.

On a cold February day in 2012, overcoat-clad Republicans on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a well-publicized field hearing to apply pressure on GSA to speed up sale of excess federal properties. The initial arrangement with Trump was announced that same February. GSA selected Trump “after an open and robust competitive process,” said a Trump statement on Wednesday. “The Trump Organization’s offer was deemed the most compelling, and it included the strongest development team, provided long term benefits to the local community, and offered the best overall proposal to the federal government."

Trump’s plan -- set for completion by 2016 -- includes a hotel with 260 rooms, restaurants, a large spa, and conference and ballroom facilities. The Old Post Office’s clock tower will be preserved and remain open to the public under auspices of the National Park Service.

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