Trump's Old Post Office Plans Surprise Some Visitors To Landmark (PHOTOS)

WASHINGTON -- District of Columbia resident Pinar Arcan has been in the nation's capital long enough to remember Nancy Hanks' campaign to save the Old Post Office Pavilion from demolition during the 1970s.

On Friday, a few days after the General Service Administration granted Donald Trump's real estate organization the rights to redevelop the 113-year-old money-losing federal property into a luxury hotel and spa, she said she wasn't sure what to expect from Trump as the new steward of the Romanesque landmark on Pennsylvania Avenue.

"That's why I wanted to come now -- to come see it as it is," Arcan told The Huffington Post.

Inside the Old Post Office Pavilion, there aren't many clues that the historic but languishing building is poised for a drastic makeover. Most vistors who spoke with HuffPost on Friday were unaware that the Old Post Office will be minted as a Trump property.

Others didn't even know that it's considered "underutilized" by the government.

But in fact, that's a polite way of putting it. The Old Post Office is losing a lot of money -- presently $6 million a year.

Tourists and visitors expressed concern that they would lose access to the 315-foot high clock tower observation deck and the Bells of Congress. The conditions of redevelopment ensure this won't happen, as one provision mandates that public access to the tower and its observation deck be maintained. As a historic landmark, much of the structure is also protected from major changes.

"The Trump Organization plan will preserve the historic nature of the building and improve the vitality of Pennsylvania Avenue," Robert Peck, the GSA commissioner of the Public Buildings Service, said in the agency's official announcement of the Trump pick. "This redevelopment represents good business sense on behalf of the American taxpayer, the Federal Government and the District of Columbia."

Some don't think the Trump name is dignified enough for such a prominent perch on Pennsylvania Avenue.

"I [am] disappointed, only because Trump has created some architectural monstrosities," said Alexander Ramos, who works nearby.

Then again, the "Apprentice" star might be the right trustee for the building's legacy. As the Washington Post's Petula Dvoark recently wrote, Trump will fit in perfectly on Pennsylvania Avenue: "He's got the persistence of a lobbyist, the family money of a past president or two, the shamelessness of a scandal-plagued senator, the marital track record of at least one former House speaker (ahem) and the self-promotional drive that draws so many of America’s student council presidents to the nation’s capital."

Arlington County resident Peggy DiNunzio said she regularly visits the Old Post Office and offered a more hopeful assessment.

"I think it's alright if [the federal government is] losing money and [Trump is] keeping it somewhat historical," she said. "Hey, he typically does a nice job... Even if we can't afford to stay at the hotel."

Old Post Office Pavilion