WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump is promising greatness for the Old Post Office building.
In a Washington Post local opinion piece this weekend, Trump -- who was recently awarded the redevelopment rights for the financially draining Federal Triangle building at 12th Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue -- laid out his vision for the mammoth project, which will see the 113-year-old structure transformed into the Trump International Hotel.
The real estate developer and star of NBC's "The Apprentice" envisions top-level restaurants spilling out into the sidewalk, a spa and hotel with 260 suites and penthouses that are "designed to be the most luxurious in the city."
The belltower, "with its incredible 360-degree views of the District," will remain open to the public.
It's a mammoth undertaking. "[W]e have continued to challenge ourselves to surpass even our own demanding expectations," Trump wrote.But serious doubts remain about Trump's redevelopment team and Trump's history of bankruptcy. Post columnist Steven Pearlstein skewered the General Service Administration's selection of the Trump organization, which has paired up with Colony Capital, in a column last month:
...Colony and Trump are high-risk gamblers who play all the angles and have a habit of overpaying and overleveraging. When projects get into trouble, as this one surely will, they think nothing of handing the keys over to the lenders and moving on to the next deal.
The project, which will involve an investment of more than $200 million, defies economic sense, according to Pearlstein.
There's a long road ahead, too. Trump's organization will have to navigate a long list of commissions, organizations and governmental entities, including the National Capital Planning Commission, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, the D.C. Historic Preservation Office, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, National Park Service and the General Services Administration.
Thus far, the District of Columbia government hasn't had much interaction with Trump, although Trump's daughter, Ivanka, recently visited the Wilson Building for a courtesy meeting with Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2).
Trump skipped the mayor's office, however.