Any doubt that the Old Post Office Pavilion would be able to attract top real estate developers and hotels in a tepid real estate market has been put to rest.
Hilton Worldwide has proposed developing the Pennsylvania Avenue landmark into a 245-room Waldorf Astoria luxury hotel with four restaurants and high-end shops.
Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts is Hilton’s top luxury brand, with its flagship U.S. hotel in New York City and locations internationally in cities including Berlin, London, Rome and Versailles.
Christopher J. Nassetta, president and chief executive of Hilton Worldwide, said developing the Old Post Office into a Waldorf Astoria would mean bringing “an iconic American brand to an iconic American building.”
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and located on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol, the Old Post Office has been deemed under-utilized by the government. The General Services Administration began soliciting proposals to redevelop the property in March and says it will make a selection by Nov. 17.
Nassetta grew up in Arlington and recently oversaw the relocation of Hilton’s headquarters from Southern California to McLean. He said he remembers visiting the Old Post Office as a child and that he was “absolutely committed” to bringing a Waldorf Astoria to Washington.
“You think about with D.C. being not just the U.S. capital but effectively the capital of the free world. And I think when you consider the way that the Waldorf Astoria has become a social and cultural center in the New York market … there is an opportunity to play a very similar role in Washington,” he said.
“I think we very quickly identified this as the very best opportunity for us to bring the Waldorf Astoria to Washington, D.C.,” he added.
Hilton proposed the hotel in tandem with Metropolitan Partnership Ltd., a Reston-based developer with experience in attracting high-end retailers such as Tiffany & Co., which it brought to Tysons Corner and Chevy Chase. Metropolitan also has played a role in the revitalization of the Pennsylvania Avenue corridor, having completed a $45 million redevelopment and expansion of 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, the Evening Star building.
Hilton’s proposal sets up a slugfest between major development and hotel players for the building. The GSA is not releasing information on submissions, more than half a dozen companies have acknowledged making proposals, including Trump Hotel Collection, the JBG Cos., Monument Realty, National Museum of the Jewish People and Carpenter and Co. of Boston.