The Trump Organization has formally notified the General Service Administration about its proposed sale of the lease for its hotel in Washington, DC, moving a step closer to offloading the property.
“GSA has been formally notified of the proposed transfer and is committed to conducting a thorough review to ensure compliance with all legal and contractual requirements,” said a spokeswoman for GSA.
CNN reported last month that the Trump Organization reached a deal to sell the lease for the Old Post Office Building to Miami-based investment group CGI Merchant Group for $375 million. CGI, as part of the deal, reached an operating and branding agreement with Hilton Hotels to run the hotel under the Waldorf-Astoria brand, people familiar with the deal said.
Before the lease transfer can be completed, GSA needs to review and sign off on the terms of the deal and ensure the buyer is qualified since it is federal property.
There is a 45-day review period once GSA has received all the information it needs to confirm the proposed buyer qualifies, including that it has a good business reputation, sufficient financial capacity, access to liquidity and prior experience running a full-service hotel.
“The 45-day clock has not started. We have requested further information on the proposed transfer and, once we receive a complete set of documentation, the 45-day period will begin,” the GSA spokeswoman said.
CGI and Hilton have teamed up on several properties in recent months, including a collection of boutique hotels in Miami’s South Beach area and an investment in Atlanta’s Morris Brown College to develop a hotel training complex.
The sale comes as the Trump Organization continues to face scrutiny. The Manhattan district attorney’s office is investigating the company and whether it manipulated the value of its properties when securing financing and assessing taxes, CNN has reported.
Trump opened the DC hotel in 2016 during his presidential campaign and it has been ensconced in controversy ever since. It drew foreign governments and raised questions about whether the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution had been violated.
It has also been subject to congressional scrutiny. In October, the House Oversight Committee released documents showing the DC property, which attracted conservative lobbyists throughout the Trump presidency, lost $70 million while he was in office. (The former President had publicly claimed the hotel was taking in tens of millions of dollars in revenues.) The company has been trying to sell the property since 2019, but paused last year when the pandemic all but shuttered the hospitality industry.
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