March 25 (UPI) — Former President Donald Trump’s lease for the use of the Old Post Office building in Washington, D.C., as a hotel was approved for sale to CGI Merchant Group on Friday.
The U.S. General Services Administration said in a statement that the sale of the lease to CGI had been approved after a review of the company’s plans to turn the federally owned historic building on Pennsylvania Avenue into a Waldorf Astoria hotel.
“The contracting officer based his decision primarily on the strength of the partnership between CGI and Hilton, the latter of which is a publicly traded company whose net worth is approximately $40 billion and will operate the hotel under its iconic Waldorf Astoria brand,” the GSA said in its statement of assignment.
The decision from the GSA, an independent federal agency which manages the government’s real estate assets, comes as Trump seeks to offload the controversial hotel which suffered financially during his presidency and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hotel, which faced scrutiny for hosting foreign leaders and others visiting the White House while Trump was president, has been a target of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ probe into whether he misled the government about the value of his business, the Trump Organization and its assets.
The Trump Organization reached a deal with CGI to sell the hotel lease for $375 million, The Wall Street Journal reported last year.
Trump purchased the lease for his 263-room hotel from the GSA in 2013 and spent roughly $200 million renovating the building, largely financed through a $170 million loan from Deutsche Bank which he would have to repay if the deal is finalized.
Construction on the Old Post Office began in 1892 and was completed just before the turn of the century. The building is one of the tallest in Washington, D.C., and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It first opened as a hotel in September 2016, months before Trump was elected.