Turning OId Post Office Pavillion into a Luxury Trump Hotel – Good Idea?


Old Post Office Pavilion, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Back in March ’11 we talked about proposed uses for the Old Post Office Pavillion for a Friday Question of the Day.

This morning, a reader sends a link to a Washington Post article:

“…Trump plans include transforming the property into an “ultra-luxury” hotel with nearly 300 rooms, a large ballroom or conference room, a spa and a museum gallery dedicated to the building’s history leading into the building’s clock tower. The plans retain the building’s exterior facade as well as its original doors, hallways and interior features.”

The reader asks:

“On the one hand, it’s a building with enormous potential and should have its insides converted for modern purposes, but I’m not sure I want the Old Post Office to turn into a Trump-style hotel (ie a sleazy Atlantic City casino). What does PoPville think?”

49 Comment

  • Sounds pretty awesome to me… could be kinda like the Biltmore in Coral Gables, sans golf.

    • and tropical weather, wedding receptions, palms, lush landscaping, good Cuban grub, and twenty minutes to Miami Beach.

  • Fantastic building and great idea. Even DC’s top hotels pale in comparison to top hotels in many other parts of the world. Maybe this one could break through to a higher level of style and quality. Currently it seems like such a waste with so-so food court which offers nothing special compared to the one in The Shops just a couple blocks away.

  • I bet the building has a Certificate of Occupancy as opposed to an Occupancy Certificate. I bet Trump will want to examine said certificate, hold a press conference and decide not to build the hotel. Remember, Celebrity Apprentice airs at 9PM/Sundays on NBC

  • Thankfully, if this happens it will be the closest Trump ever gets to the White House.

  • …and a museum gallery dedicated to the building’s history leading into the building’s clock tower.

    I could be for or against a hotel depending on the specifics of how the museum would work. Will the Trump museum be open to the general public during the same hours as the current NPS museum, without “VIP visiting” restrictions or other such nonsense?

    The building is not being utilized to its fullest potential by any means, but selling it to a dickbag who wants to shut off access to everyone except those who can afford to fork over the most money is not the answer either… especially since public monies have been used as part for its upkeep for decades.

  • Yes, sounds good to me, it would work really well as a hotel, but I’d also like to see public access maintained to the tower and lobby/museum spaces.

  • I think every other luxury hotel in the neighborhood will lobby against it, but it’s still a better idea than letting it lie fallow or turning it into the world’s biggest upscale cupcakery for dogs.

  • What are the upper levels being used for currently? Is there office space in there right now, or is it vacant?

    • The National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities are housed there currently.

      • Well, if the Republicans win again in 2012, unnecessary agencies will probably be eliminated, so at least nobody important will have to be forcibly moved, and they can start remodeling in Spring ’13.

        • They’d have to win it all: House, Senate, and Presidency for that to happen. It’s not likely that they’ll gain/retain all three. GOP-controlled House approval rating is the dumps now, even compared to the Pres’. Swing voters are likely to punish the GOP for the methods it used in the debt ceiling debate.

          • Exactly. Obama will almost certainly win again in 2012, followed by four more years of the kind of “change” we didn’t exactly bargain for.

    • or walmart.

      • Here’s why Eataly will never come to DC proper:

        “Do I look like a dreamer? Well, Eataly in Turin gets two and a half million visitors a year. And Turin has a million residents. There are eight million people in New York. Plus 45 million tourists, half a million of whom are from Italy. It’s the most-visited city in the world: Paris comes a poor second with 23 million. Do you think I’m being over-ambitious?”.

        That’s a quote from the founder of Eataly, Oscar Farinetti. Smart dude who knows the numbers behind his business. Let’s compare that to DC:

        Number of people living in NYC: 8M. Greater DC metro area: 5.5M, but keep in mind this includes way-out-there counties like Frederick and Spottsylvania.

        Number of tourists visiting NYC yearly: 45M. DC: 15M.

        NYC also has a higher concentration of affluent residents immediately around Eataly. DC does not have such an area unless you count Kalorama and Upper NW, and those are low density areas. A loft apartment in Chelsea can go for millions of dollars.

        So we’ll probably see Eataly in an area that is easily accessible from far away areas and has a concentration of high income residents in the immediate area. I’m thinking Tyson’s.

        • how much tourism does tyson’s get?

          • None, but tourism isn’t the driving factor behind placement of Eataly in the DC area because there’s not enough volume.

          • denizen,
            so why did you quote tourism stats?
            you laid out an argument, then dropped it, then pulled something out of the blue.

            are you in on this decision making process or just making stuff up?

          • My point was to show that the having a 50,000 square foot luxury food market in the middle of a downtown location is justified by the volume and demographics surrounding the location. In NYC proper, it makes sense. In DC proper, it does not.

          • Actually, any kind of density is key to Eataly, I imagine. Turin is more densely populated than Tokyo. And NY may not be as densely populated, but it’s a luxury destination and has the aforementioned density of high incomes in the city itself. DC has a similar density to NYC (compared to the given Turin-NYC comparison), but the affluent residents do not form any sort of density anywhere, even in Arlington or Fairfax Co.

        • Tyson’s is really not that high income anymore. NoVA in general is experiencing a big demographic shift as its wealthier residents get fed up with the traffic, congestion, etc. and move either to DC or to the exurbs. Meanwhile, the low-income immigrant populations keep coming.

          • Tyson’s is really not that high income anymore.

            Except that it is. Highest counties per capita in the US:

            1 – City of Falls Church, Virginia – $113,313
            2 – Loudoun County, Virginia – $112,021
            3 – Fairfax County, Virginia – $104,259

          • Ok, but those numbers are meaningless unless you compare them to DC’s wealthiest neighborhoods.

          • Denizen, per capita in McLean proper is only 80k and Vienna is only 49k. The stat you just listed is median household income, not per capita.

          • ElCal,

            Good catch, I stand corrected. Household income is still germaine to the discussion.

            Anywho… I can see why residents want Eataly to open within DC’s borders, and you can count me in on that list. I just don’t see it happening at this point.

            But if it DOES open in DC Proper, I’ll buy a charcuterie plate and a glass of beer or wine for PoP.

        • Desity is key to any business. But the original Eataly is so well-known that I imagine people will flock to the DC location even if it were in a sleepier neighborhood (but maybe not Tyson’s because it’s such a pain to get to).

          • agreed. I find the entire concept interesting, but would not regularly trek to Tysons… especially not for food. talk about a waste of gas and energy…

        • National Harbor would make more sense than Tyson’s.

          • I think Eatly is so overrated. I went there this weekend and the octopus salad tasted like Thanksgving because it was spiced up with herbs that Stovetop uses. The cheeses were boring and the olive oil was pressed from olives that were picked before ripening. The bread was OK, but it was mislabeled and had chucks of cured ham throughout (I’m a vegetarian). The hazelnut chocolates were good though. They were 50% off because they were past the sell date. Now that I think of it, Eatly would be wildly successful in D.C.

  • I think the building would make a fantastic venue for an art museum but if the only choice is go for a commercial use, I think turning it into a casino is exactly what should be done with it! (But preserve public access to the tower) Think of all the tax revenue for DC City Government!

  • I don’t get why the OP equates “Trump-style hotel” with “sleazy Atlantic City casino”. First, a true casino would be illegal in DC. Second, from everything I’ve read (no personal experience) his hotels are swank and anything but sleazy. Finally, even if I’m wrong about point #2, if you got a free combover with every stay, wouldn’t you be willing to put up with a little sleaze?

    • I’m not decided about whether this should be a luxory hotel or not, but you’re correct that not all of his properties are sleazy. The Trump hotel and condos in Chicago is very nice and far from sleazy.

    • because he uses all that gold. his hotels may not be sleazy, but they are definitely tacky. Tacky and Pennsylvania Ave. do not mix. We see this with Hotel Monaco. Animal print robes??? Gross.

    • ah

      No, DC’s casinos are going to be in its libraries.

  • A Hotel? Yes. A Trump Hotel? Oh, hell to the no!

  • If trump wins this contract I might actually start a riot and possibly even sue the donald for tarnishing a place that I have so many great childhood memories associated with.

  • Trump doesn’t spend BILLIONS of dollars to build anything tacky. A hotel would create jobs and tax revenue for the city. Is he a scum bag? Absolutely. Would I rather see him spend his billions in another city? No.

  • The Trump Tower Soho in NY is an awesome hotel – great service, celebrities – why not bring some posh to the DC hotel scene. I think that the W set the stage for more and better hotels in DC. I will take Trump’s tax revenue anyday – he is a smart, if calculating, businessman who will definitely bring revenue to DC.

    Anyone know what is going on with the boutique hotel that was supposed to go into the Christian Science church in Adams Morgan? That place could be a goldmine for the city and the area. Plus, maybe the police will pay more attention to cleaning up CH knowing that more tourists will be wandering around.

  • The only thing that makes me queasy about this is that it is The Donald that is involved. I would be much better with it if someone else was in the lead.

    Captcha: 2YRE

  • A Trump hotel is perfect for that space, so long as they respect the building, as they say they will, and facilitate reasonable public access to the tower.

  • Agree with all the comments that DC really needs more real, luxury/higher end hotels. But is Trump the guy to do it? When I think of the Trump brand, I think tacky tacky tacky, trying too look luxurious to the wannabe-rich (like Trump himself) but underneath cheap crapola.

  • sans golf, and tropical weather, wedding receptions, palms, lush landscaping, good Cuban grub, and twenty minutes to Miami Beach.

  • The Trump organization is actually supposed to be holding a competition between architects/interiors firms, through AIA, that will present different ideas and uses of the space. Naturally the historic nature of the building will be kept because afterall it is a Historic Building.

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