Donald Trump to open his first hotel in D.C.
WASHINGTON?Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump today unveiled plans to spend $200 million turning the historic Old Post Office Pavilion in the nation’s capital into a luxury hotel with 270 rooms and presidential suites with bulletproof windows.
Trump International Hotel, Washington D.C. will take up a prime location on Pennsylvania Avenue in between the U.S. Capitol and the White House. Construction will begin in the spring of 2014 and is expected to be completed in late 2015.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) told the audience at the Pavilion that the neighborhood in downtown D.C. has a shortage of hotels despite having plenty of museums, historic landmarks, federal buildings and offices to draw business and leisure travelers.
He said the Trump hotel will help “us to define what the hotel industry, what the hospitality industry will be on this side of Pennsylvania Avenue.”
The Post Office, built in 1899, has been the source of much consternation among local politicians and activists. There have been multiple attempts to demolish it. Right now, it houses a few nondescript shops and fast food eateries.
“They have put to rest the saga of the Old Post Office Pavilion,” said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), who added that she has spent 15 years trying to get the property redeveloped.
Trump is leasing the property from the Federal Government for 60 years with the possibility of two 20-year extensions at a monthly rent of $250,000.
The real estate mogul and television personality said he will spare no expense to turn the building into the most luxurious hotel in the nation’s capital.
“There will be nothing like what we are building here,” he told the crowd. “The rooms will be incredible. The views will be amazing.”
“I think the ballroom will be one of the greatest ballrooms in the country,” he said with his usual flair.
He said he chose to enter the D.C. market because it is a strong one with high demand for hotels. But he said he was also eager to snap up such a historic property. “The building is something you can never recreate,” he said in an interview after the press conference.
Ivanka Trump said the architects and designers will preserve the historic integrity of the building while adding modern and elegant details.
“The design juxtaposes the strength and masculinity of the building with gentler touches,” she said.
The hotel’s 270 rooms will average about 600 square feet, have 14- to 16-foot ceilings, soaring windows and crystal chandeliers. The color palette will feature Federal blues, creams and ivories with soft gold and silver accents and some deep reds.
Two presidential suites will be located in the former offices of the Postmaster General. Each will be at least 3,000 square feet and have three bedrooms. They will have 16-foot ceilings, fireplaces, a separate dining room with pantry and service entry, his and her walk-in closets, a private sauna and steam room, two-person shower and direct-elevator access.
No rates have been set yet, Trump said in an interview. “The world can change, either good or bad,” he said.
He said he would try to keep rates reasonable but that guests will be paying for “by far the best hotel in Washington. There won’t be anything close.”
“I always think of the Old Post Office in Washington, D.C., to be the equivalent of Grand Central Terminal in New York City,” said Hany Hassan, partner at the architectural firm Beyer Binder Belle. “Our responsibility is to give new life to this historic hotel.”
The now-closed 11th Street pedestrian entrance on Pennsylvania Avenue will be reinstated as the driveway to the hotel’s canopied grand entrance.
Inside, guests will walk into The Cortile, a nine-story atrium with a grand lobby and lounge. Sunlight will filter through a canopy of trees. Furnishings will be in rich jewel tones such as deep red, emerald and sapphire with gold accents. There will be a water sculpture and brass and glass chandeliers.
The ground level will also have high-end restaurants and retailers.
As part of 39,000 square feet of meeting and event place, the hotel will have an over-the-top 13,000 square-foot Grand Ballroom designed with European influences.
The 3,500 square-foot Library will have 25-foot ceilings, high-arched windows, hardwood floors, velvet draperies, hand-woven area rugs, and leather club chairs. It will be available for use as a junior ballroom, large boardroom or informal meeting space.
And there will be a 4,000 square-foot Mar-a-Lago Spa by Ivanka Trump.
The Clock Tower at the pinnacle of the Old Post Office, which houses the official United States Bells of Congress and has 360-degree views of the city will remain open to the public. The National Park Service-run destination attracts about 1,500 visitors each day.
The building, Trump said, was “let go of” for a few years.
“We are going to do something that is really going to bring out the grandeur of the building,” he said.