Going to the highest bidder. (GSA)

It’s taken ten years and a bit of a shove from our Republican overlords, but today the General Services Administration finally fired the starting gun on a process that will lead to the private redevelopment of the Old Post Office Pavilion on Pennsylvania Avenue, which the Post called a “symbol of federal real estate waste.”

The request for proposals outlines the parameters would-be developers have to work with: A 60-year ground lease, the proposed price for which will be included in each bid. Almost 400,000 gross square feet of space*, once the 450 federal employees who occupy it now are relocated. Among its criteria for renovation and uses, GSA specifically requested  “support for public use through open spaces with an emphasis on creating a pedestrian friendly environment at street level.”

Bids are due July 20, with anticipated construction beginning in 2014.

The RFP is likely to generate a lot of interest from developers nationwide—it’s not often such an iconic building so near the White House becomes available for private development. The Business Journal speculated back in January that it could follow the model of the Old Tariff Building, which Kimpton turned into the Hotel Monaco back in 1998. The case for a hotel here isn’t as clear, since it’s so close to the Willard, and it doesn’t seem terribly well set up for a major retail tenant. But those developers are creative, so we’ll see what they can come up with.


* Revised from “over half a million.”