Trump Hotel Design Gets Initial Nod

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

By Desiree

The Trump Hotel Collection received a favorable review from the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (401 F Street) last month on its design to redevelop the historic Old Post Office Pavilion (1100 Pennsylvania Avenue) into Trump International Hotel.

CFA, which gives expert advice to the President, Congress and federal agency and department heads on matters of design and aesthetics in D.C., approved the project’s general concept and recommended the development’s design be submitted as a revised concept. Specifically, it suggested the following: 

  • Reconsider many elements of the landscape design to strengthen the hotel's contribution to public space on Pennsylvania Avenue and within the Federal Triangle.
  • Treat the south plaza space–midway between the National Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue and across from a Metrorail station–as a tree–shaded public space with a more elegant configuration of walls, rather than planters and flags.
  • Study carefully the proposed outdoor cafe seating areas throughout the site to ensure their viability because of their distance from the interior restaurant spaces.
  • Reduce in both size and number the signs and canopies proposed for the building and site and, perhaps,      treat them in a way that appears more temporary and subordinate to both the architecture and the building’s preeminence.
  • Treat the proposed ballroom entrance for the Annex exterior as a small glassy pavilion within the court and develop more for this element, whose boxy entrance structure appears to be visually disruptive and reminiscent of a portal or tunnel entrance.

The seven-member Commission urged the General Services Administration (GSA), which selected the Trump Organization to revitalize the 113-year-old historic landmark, to ensure the redevelopment maintains the history and character of the Old Post Office as a public building. Its review is not binding but it serves as a guideline for Donald and Ivanka Trump, the father and daughter team redeveloping the site, as well as other stakeholders as the hotel’s plans are finalized.

Meanwhile, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), in its procedures for evaluating D.C. projects developed in the Central Area of Washington, is working on the project’s Environmental Assessment in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 review process. Both should be completed this month, with preliminary plans going before the 12-member Commission at its July 11 meeting.

The DowntownDC BID is a consulting partner with the GSA through the Section 106 process and, therefore, has been involved with meetings concerning this project.