- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 31, 2013

Donald Trump is barred from providing any space inside the Old Post Office building for a male revue, a condom store or — heaven forbid — dentists who work on credit, under terms of one of the most talked-about federal real estate deals in years.

Mr. Trump promised a classy, upscale hotel resort after he secured a long-term lease with the federal government this summer to redevelop the coveted Pennsylvania Avenue property.

According to the fine print of the lease — numbering more than 300 pages and obtained by The Washington Times through a Freedom of Information Act request — the federal government has plenty of thoughts about exactly what Mr. Trump can and cannot do.

Cabarets are OK, according to the lease, but only as long as they are not topless. Army Navy surplus stores aren’t welcome. Neither are discount jewelers or secondhand stores. Blood banks are banned, too.

Although Mr. Trump had no plans for any of these uses, and the prohibitions almost certainly didn’t surface as a point of dispute during negotiations, the list is striking because of the sheer randomness of the activities the General Services Administration sought to ban.

Along with obvious bans on adult video stores and strip clubs are prohibitions on fish and tackle shops, public laundromats, auto supply shops and “establishments that primarily provide dental care on credit.”

The lease makes an explicit exception for adult entertainment that is “provided by means of in-room entertainment systems or viewed by guests using personal electronic devices.”

Gambling is prohibited — except, according to the fine print, “hotel guests and other occupants may engage in online gaming and sports betting using personal electronic devices.”

Finally, although few likely would have been rushing to the upscale hotel to buy lawn mowers, the lease deal expressly bans “yard and lawn equipment” stores along with any “marketplace of independent merchants selling low-quality merchandise.” That’s a lawyer way of saying no flea markets, either.

The Trump Organization didn’t provide comment Thursday.

Dan Cruz, a spokesman for the GSA, said in an email statement that the restrictions outlined in the lease “ensure that any new uses are appropriate for an historic building on Pennsylvania Avenue in the nation’s capital.”

“The restrictions ensure that the building will be used according to the lease agreement for the full term of the lease,” he said.

GSA announced in June that government officials had wrapped up negotiations with the Trump Organization on a 60-year lease agreement to redevelop the building, converting it into a “luxury mixed use development.”

Under the agreement, $200 million of private funds will be invested to restore the 114-year-old federal building, GSA officials said at the time, though many financial details included in the lease were redacted in the copy provided to The Times.

GSA officials, for instance, withheld an annual cost statement included in the lease, saying it’s exempt from public disclosure because it contains commercial information that is privileged or confidential. Officials also withheld floor plans, saying the information could compromise safety of people or property.

Although GSA officials did not elaborate on the reasons for banning establishments such as laundromats, flea markets and fish and tackle shops, the restrictions may hark back to a far-different Pennsylvania Avenue.

As the story goes, President Kennedy saw a seedy strip of peep shows, pawn shops and liquor stores as his motorcade made its way down Pennsylvania Avenue during his inauguration. His disgust gave rise to efforts realized long after his death to revitalize the historic street.

Mark Richards, owner of the Full Metal Jacket LLC, a military surplus store just outside of Washington in Alexandria, isn’t upset that his sort of business isn’t welcome on Pennsylvania Avenue.

“An Army Navy store could never afford that rent,” he said.

• Jim McElhatton can be reached at jmcelhatton@washingtontimes.com.

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