GSA, Trump release plans for Old Post Office Building

Thursday - 6/6/2013, 5:11pm EDT

After more than a year of negotiations, the General Services Administration and business magnate Donald Trump's organization have inked a deal to redevelop Washington, D.C.'s historic Old Post office Building.

Now it's up to Congress, which has 30 days to review the agreement, to finalize the deal.

Under the terms of the 60-year lease, the Trump Organization has agreed to spend $200 million to redevelop the building into a 263-room luxury hotel along Pennsylvania Ave complete with restaurants and a spa. Trump will also pay GSA $3 million in annual rent payments tied to inflation.

The lease calls for GSA to turn over the building to Trump by the end of May 2014. In the meantime, GSA will have to transfer the remaining federal tenants who still use the 114-year-old building for office space.

GSA plans to relocate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities to the Constitution Center on 7th Street in Southwest D.C. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation will move to the National Building Museum on F Street.

Under the terms of the lease, the building's clock tower, which is the second tallest structure in Washington, D.C., and contains an exact replica of the bells in Westminster Abbey, will still be open to the public and will be operated by the National Park Service even after the building changes hands.

Trump plans for the hotel to open in early 2016.

Congress prodded GSA into redeveloping the building — which GSA deemed underutilized — with the the 2008 Old Post Office Building Redevelopment Act.

In March 2011, GSA issued a request-for-proposals for the redevelopment and by February 2012 had settled on the Trump Organization.

Lawmakers have long complained that GSA takes too long to get rid of excess properties, and even held a field hearing at the Old Post Office building last year to draw attention to excess federal properties.

The post office deal is the most recent high-profile effort by GSA offload excess and underutilized federal property. In March, the agency accepted a $19.5 million bid from the Four Season hotel chain to purchase the massive Georgetown West Heating Plant from the government.

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