WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump plans to sell his Washington hotel and property at the Old Post Office Pavilion, according to officials in the U.S. General Services Administration.
The real estate firm CBRE announced the deal in a statement Tuesday, which said the Trump Organization will set aside $50 million to support redevelopment efforts in the area, including affordable housing. GSA spokesman William Harrison said Trump will earn at least $375 million from the deal.
The Old Post Office is not on the same historic significance scale as Trump International Hotel, just steps from the White House, but it has been attracting an increasingly large number of Washington events since Trump became president in January. It’s located in a neighborhood known as Post Office Row, across the street from the White House and next to the Trump International Hotel.
Trump’s decision could be his most momentous corporate transactions since taking office. He is far more involved in day-to-day operations of his business than any president since John F. Kennedy. His business properties, once scattered across the country, now dot the landscape, with the Trump International Hotel in Washington the flagship.
GSA officials would not say who is buying the property.
The Old Post Office is one of the most prestigious residential and commercial properties in the city. Developed in the 1910s, it was designed by Greek architect Constantinos Georgiou. President Franklin D. Roosevelt hosted his annual “fireside chats” in the oval office, his private dining room was used for meetings and receptions and residents included John F. Kennedy and President Harry S. Truman.
The Secret Service owns and operates the hotel, which opened in 2016. Secret Service personnel are in the building to guard the president and first lady.
After the election, the Secret Service transferred the hotel operations to Trump. The move drew ire from Trump opponents who cited the separation of federal property from the presidency.
Trump renewed the hotel as the headquarters for his presidential campaign in late 2015, but he ceased to operate the campaign lease-free within the last few weeks. The New York Times first reported the deal.
Alan Garten, chief legal officer of Trump Organization, said the president does not have a stake in the properties but that he does retain an interest.
“Mr. Trump currently has no financial interest in this transaction,” Garten said in a statement. “Any report to the contrary is incorrect.”
Garten said the sale “will take place with the Trump Organization.”
But Gorton Group President Steve Gluckman said the buyer is the winning group, a partnership between private equity firm Merb Capital Partners and GW properties, LLC, which is managed by W.P. Carey & Co. He said that the GSA has approved the transfer of the hotel licenses and all associated paperwork.
Gluckman said the GSA and GW properties LLC, which was formed in April 2017, are “an unbroken chain of winners.”
“This is a great area of Washington,” he said. “We are thrilled to be part of it.”
One real estate expert said the Trump Organization should have been paying more attention to the value of the hotel.
“They should have been spending more time looking at that and knowing their price and they should have been negotiating a bit better,” said Michael Beckel, a finance reporter at PolitiFact.
While the Trump Organization has become increasingly involved in hotels, other Trump properties have faced criticism for unrelated problems, including the destruction of wildlife habitat in the Central American country of El Salvador. Trump sold off his real estate holdings just before taking office to focus on running the country.
Last year, GSA approved allowing Trump to sell his interest in the Old Post Office — which he bought as president for $10 million in 2007 — and retain control of the Trump Organization.
About 4,300 rooms remain in the hotel. President Harry Truman would sometimes rent a room to sleep during long visits to Washington. Former President Richard Nixon’s custom-tailored suitcase was donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and displayed as the official presidential suitcase.
This article was written by Matt Zapotosky and Juliet Eilperin from The Washington Post and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]