The transfer of the lease for the Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue, formerly held by the Trump Organization, to CGI Merchant Group has been completed. The $375 million dollar sale was finalized on May 11, 2022. The Trump International Washington D.C. hotel closed the same day, as the new owners will re-flag the property as the city’s first Waldorf-Astoria, set to open by early summer.
The clock tower of the Old Post Office is the second tallest building in Washington D.C., only eclipsed by the Washington Monument.
CGI Merchant Group, with celebrity investors including baseball player Alex Rodriguez and boxer Floyd Mayweather, is paying a D.C. record 1.3 million per key for the 263-room hotel. The sale was announced in November 2021 and needed government approval since the General Services Administration (GSA) controls the building.
The hotel is located only a few blocks from the White House and The Capitol. When it opened in 2016, it became a political lightning rod, with one side making it a prime gathering place and the other seeing it as an example of the inappropriate mixing of private business and the government.
These entanglements delayed the transfer of the lease with questions about the seemingly high sales price and pending lawsuits about overpayments to the hotel for the 2017 inauguration party. The sales price was deemed appropriate in March and the lawsuit settled in May, clearing the way for the sale.
While the price tag for the hotel is the highest ever for Washington D.C., there’s not much to compare it to. The hotel has a prime location for both leisure travelers and political heavyweights. For the life of the property as a hotel, there’s no baseline to use to know how much money it can make as a neutral player. And while Washington D.C. already has a number of luxury hotels, none have the history or majesty of the Old Post Office.
The hotel is currently closed and the new owners wasted no time removing the old branding from the property. By the end of the first day, all of the signage was gone and replaced by ones advertising the Waldorf Astoria. While Hilton does have a Conrad hotel in Washington D.C., it’s easy to say that this will quickly become their flagship property in the city. They’ll have plenty of competition with Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Park Hyatt, Fairmont, Ritz Carlton and St. Regis as established players in the market.
However, if you have a bunch of Hilton Honors points, it does look like it’s going to be a nice place to stay.
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