Real estate mogul Donald Trump has cleared a regulatory hurdle in his efforts to redevelop the Old Post Office in downtown D.C. into a high-end hotel, though he is still engaged in financial negotiations over the terms of that long-term lease with the federal government.
The General Services Administration completed a final Environmental Assessment of the proposed conversion and ruled earlier this month it will not have any significant impact on the area in terms of land use, historical resources, transportation or socio-economic conditions. The assessment, dated May 16 and recently published to the GSA’s website, was a required step under the federal National Environmental Policy Act before a federal property can be redeveloped or leased to private parties.
The more essential part of the process involves Trump’s negotiations with the GSA over the financial terms of the project. When it selected Trump from a competitive solicitation, the GSA said it hoped to wrap up those negotiations by February 2013. The two sides have until next month to complete negotiations or sever the talks. Trump, speaking at an April 10 forum hosted by Washington Post Live, said he had hoped to complete those negotiations in a matter of weeks and pledged that “The deal will happen, and we’re very much on track.”
As proposed, Trump affiliate Trump Old Post Office LLC would lease the former city Post Office building at 1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW from the federal government for the next 55 years and convert the historic 465,000-square-foot building into a 267-room hotel. The conversion is also slated to include 63,300 square feet of museum space, restaurants, retail and a ballroom.
The GSA’s review estimates the project would generate about $6.5 million per year in hotel tax revenue, based on a daily room rate of $660 and a 72 percent occupancy rate. The project’s retail space, including a gift shop, spa, bar and other amenities, could generate an additional $1.5 million in sales taxes.