The federal government launched the Campaign to Cut Waste in order to reduce unnecessary spending and to close budget gap. This program includes the elimination of unused buildings.
So far the federal government has been the biggest property owner in the U.S., but it doesn’t need more than 14,000 buildings and structures it has, according to the information released by the White House.These buildings are considered to be “excess.” Some of them will be demolished, while others – sold to private owners. But now they cost taxpayers about $190 million a year.
Explore the map featuring some of U.S. Federal buildings that will be demolished or sold.
The Old Post Office (OPO) located between the White House and The Capitol is one of the first structures in the downtown DC to be redeveloped into a hotel as a part of this program. DC Monaco Hotel, formerly General Post Office and Tariff Building, was turned into a hotel in the summer of 2002.
The video below explores the attitudes of D.C. locals, retail and preservation specialists on the conversion of the 113-year old building.
The conversion of the OPO into a hotel has received a lot of public attention because of the two following reasons:
1. The historic nature of the building.
Some argue that the redevelopment might ruin the city landmark, which is one of the few remaining examples of Richardsonian Romanesque Architecture.
Find out what Vanessa Haces Gonzatti, a frequent D.C. visitor, thinks about the proposed project.
According to the information provided by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which owns the building, the architecture of the OPO will be saved.
“The Trump Organization plan will preserve the historic nature of the building and improve the vitality of Pennsylvania Avenue,” continued Peck, GSA’s Commissioner of the Public Buildings Service.
The city landmark has been slated for demolition twice. Once it has been saved by the lack of money during the Great Depression, the other one – by D.C. locals who asked the Congress to keep the building.
2.The profile of The Trump Organization that has won the redevelopment bid.
Donald Trump has been successful in marketing, show business and politics. But he got infamous for filing bankruptcy on several of his properties, including Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza Hotel and Trump Shuttle. All the properties owned by The Trump Organization are known for their luxurious style and high price.
Some fear that these factor may turn the public landmark into the place for the rich only.
“When a grand government building is turned over to the private sector, it loses value that can’t be measured,” says Steve Hutkins, New York University literature professor. “Before, it was open to the public; after, only those who can pay Trump’s prices will have access.”
Those with the opposite point of view argue that the OPO is not open to public now because of the governmental offices located in the building.
“Because upper floors contain governmental agencies and offices, the entire building has the security aspect to it,” says Erin Hein, the Director of Preservation Action, nonprofit organization advocating for historic preservation. “You cannot just walk in. You have to go through security. I don’t find it to be conducive to good public use.”
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) says Trump outbid nine other development teams to win the exclusive rights to negotiate with the GSA.
Greatness for the Old Post Office building by Donald Trump