Donald Trump is reportedly selling his Washington hotel, the money-losing property once billed as the “crown jewel” of his real estate empire.
CGI Merchant Group will buy the rights to the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue for $375 million, The Wall Street Journal first reported. Trump’s divisive name will come down from the hotel, which Hilton will run as part of its Waldorf Astoria portfolio.
The building itself is owned by the federal government. Trump’s company won a lease to develop it into a hotel in 2012, then opened it in 2016.
After he won the 2016 election, the property became a gathering place for right-wing supporters, lobbyists and foreign visitors hoping to curry favor with Trump or mingle with those in his circle.
Once Trump left office, the place emptied.
“Those people no longer have any reason to meet and try to find out what’s happening on the scene because the man is gone,” Kevin Chaffee, senior editor of Washington Life, told The Guardian in March. “So it must be like a ghost town.”
But even during Trump’s presidency, the hotel struggled financially, with a congressional report last month finding that it racked up $70 million in losses over four years.
The House Committee on Oversight and Reform said the Trump Organization had to loan the hotel $27 million and seek preferential treatment to delay payments on a $170 million loan, The Associated Press reported.
The hotel was at the center of a lawsuit that accused Trump of benefitting financially from the presidency in violation of the Constitution.
That suit was ultimately dismissed by the Supreme Court, but Congress continues to investigate the arrangements for potential conflicts of interest.
Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told The Hill that Trump should’ve been forced to ditch the property before he took office.
Instead, he said, Trump “rode out four years of using it for influence peddling and constitutional violations.”
“Selling it now that he’s out of office and the grift dried up is, to say the least, too little, too late,” Bookbinder told the outlet.
CNN notes the deal is contingent on a review by the General Services Administration, which is expected to take 60 days.
Despite the hotel’s losing record, the Trump Organization will still turn a profit on the sale, according to The New York Times.