Denham Joins Trump Family for Unveiling of Hotel in Old Post Office Building

Sep 10, 2013 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Government Waste
Rep. Denham with Donald and Ivanka Trump
Rep. Denham with Donald and Ivanka Trump.

Use of Old Post Office as Trump International Hotel Saves Taxpayers Million, Creates Jobs

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) today joined Donald and Ivanka Trump at the architectural and design unveiling of Trump International Hotel, which will occupy the Old Post Office building in downtown Washington, D.C., creating 700 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs, according to the office of Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray.

As the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management in the 112th Congress, Congressman Denham has played an integral role in pushing the federal government to move forward with the redevelopment of the Old Post Office in Washington, which until now has been losing more than $6 million annually. The building has housed federal offices, some retail and restaurants, but the annex has been empty and in disrepair despite the prominent location of the complex on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the U.S. Capitol building.

“I am pleased to see Trump International Hotel’s design unveiled today,” said Rep. Denham. “This is one of the projects that has been important to me in my efforts to generate economic growth and streamline federal processes, and as the chairman of the Economic Development subcommittee last Congress, I worked closely with the GSA on this project.”

“The new use of this building will create jobs and generate revenue for the local economy in the District of Columbia,” Rep. Denham continued. “Structures similar to the Old Post Office building sit vacant or underutilized all across the country. Redevelopment of these federal properties is key to job creation and promoting economic growth.”

During his time as the chairman of the Economic Development subcommittee, Rep. Denham worked with former Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman Mica (R-FL) to hold two field hearings, one in January of 2011 and one in February of 2012, in the Old Post Office building’s vacant annex to discuss ways to save taxpayers money by improving management of federally owned assets and property.

Rep. Denham introduced a bill in the 112th Congress, the Civilian Property Realignment Act (CPRA), designed to improve the management of federal properties like this one, shrink the federal government’s footprint and save taxpayers billions of dollars. Last Congress CPRA passed the House with a wide margin of support. He re-introduced CPRA in February of 2013. 

CPRA would establish a framework through which an independent commission would review federal properties and make recommendations for consolidations, co-locations, redevelopment, selling or other actions to minimize costs and produce savings for the taxpayer.

Rep. Denham’s bill encompasses five key principles for reforming the process, including: working to maximize return to the taxpayer, maximizing space utilization, reducing the reliance on costly leasing, creating value in underperforming assets and improving the overall management and controls related to federal properties.

Background on the Old Post Office Building: The Old Post Office has sat partially empty and underused for years in the heart of the nation’s capital. According to GSA, it leases approximately 200,000 square feet of office space in the Old Post Office (OPO) to a variety of federal agencies. The building is more than 375,000 square feet.  GSA collects about $5.5 million in rent each year. In order to make better use of the building, in 1982, GSA attempted to redevelop the lower levels of the building for retail use.  In 1989, a new retail facility in the OPO courtyard (Annex) of 53,000 square feet and was built.

The OPO Annex opened but was never fully occupied. GSA spends about $12 million to operate and maintain the facility, which results in an annual operating loss of $6.5 million.