Hany Hassan Calls His Trump Hotel Redevelopment "Most Iconic" Restoration Project In DC
The $200M restoration of the Old Post Office Building into a Trump Hotel is nearly complete. Guests will be welcomed starting Sept. 12, the hotel's soft opening, and it will have a grand opening ceremony in October. At the fifth annual Bisnow Lodging Investment Series on Sept. 21, key players in the project will participate in a case study to discuss this unique project.
Architect Hany Hassan of Beyer Blinder Belle, pointing at the building above, has worked on numerous historic restoration projects, but he said something about the Old Post Office building was special to him.
"I really view the Old Post Office in DC as the most iconic and most representative of the historic preservation movement in the District," Hany, who will speak at BLIS, tells Bisnow.
The project was particularly challenging, Hany says, because it was originally an office building so it didn't have the necessary bathrooms and other functions required for a hotel.
"My interest was really to preserve the historic character of the building while making it suitable for hotel use," Hany says. "And to give it a new life; the building was also enduring a lot of deterioration during that time because it was underutilized."
While much of the project involved restoring qualities of the old building, the 13k SF Presidential Ballroom (rendered above, in Trump's signature gold) and banquet facilities were added on to the east side of the building.
"That was a challenge itself in how to fit a new building within such a historic and sensitive context with the Old Post Office," Hany says of the ballroom's exterior, rendered above.
The hotel's 263 guest rooms include 35 suites, notably the 4k SF presidential suite, above, which was adapted from the old Postmaster General's office space.
An example of incorporating restored elements, this suite includes the original Post Office seal built into the woodwork in the window framing.
Trump Organization SVP David Orowitz, who will also speak at BLIS next month, says this type of attention to detail was important to the developer.
"Our team literally went through and catalogued every window in the hotel in order to retain and repair every element possible," David tells Bisnow. "Due to their hard work, the glass, woodwork and stone carving, which could never be replicated today, looks as it was originally intended when the building was built in the 19th century."
The Cortile (above) is the building's 200-foot-high atrium. It will serve as the hotel's lobby and also feature a BLT Prime, a restaurant by David Burke as well as a bar and lounge.
Famous chefs Jose Andres and Geoffrey Zakarian had planned to open restaurants in the hotel, but both backed out after Trump began his presidential campaign with inflammatory immigration remarks. The Trump Organization sued the chefs, who have both filed countersuits.
David acknowledged the project has faced more public scrutiny than most redevelopments.
"Trump has been involved in various iconic projects over the years," David says. "That being said, this project has been uniquely public due to the nature and location of the building, in addition to the brand behind it."
The National Park Service will maintain the building's 315-foot clock tower, which contains the Bells of Congress. The developer has created a museum that will sit at the clock tower's entrance to teach the public about the building's history.
In addition to celebrating the building's history, Hany says the redevelopment will spark a new era of activity along Pennsylvania Avenue. Down the street, Market Square just completed the first phase of its redevelopment, and the Hoover Building will likely be demolished and replaced with a mixed-use building once the FBI moves to the suburbs.
"The Old Post Office will bring activity and vibrancy to this area, which was absent," Hany says. "As you look at this intersection and this area it was almost a void in terms of activity and street life. This will bring people from the National Mall to Pennsylvania Avenue and all this activity is going to be very special."