UPDATE: GM was mistaken. While the Levy Group owns several of the buildings along Pennsylvania Ave. next to the Four Seasons, it doesn’t own the hotel, Strategic Hotels does. However the root of the prediction still holds since the Levy Group is teaming with Strategic Hotels to bid on the West Heating Plant.
As of last night, the standing highest bid on the West Heating Plant is over $15 million. The auction was supposed to close on February 19th, but it was always labeled a “soft close” and GSA will likely keep the bidding open until 24 hours goes by without a higher bid.
The bids are anonymous. Until last night the high bidder was “Bidder #5″ for $15 million. That was topped by a bid for $15.2. All we know is that neither is EastBanc; Anthony Lanier announced that they are no longer in the running.
GM has heard no rumors or tips as to who could be throwing around that much dough. But for the record, he is going to guess that the winning bid will come from one of two sources: the Levy Group or New York money.
The Levy Group
owns the is teaming with the owners of the Four Seasons and they have been the most aggressive group pushing various ideas they’d like to implement as if they already owned it. For instance, they’ve already privately floated the idea of building a bridge across the canal to connect the two buildings (that has no chance in hell getting built).
They have the most to gain by grouping the massive West Heating Plant with the Four Seasons. They could turn it into hotel rooms or residences. They also could consider converting part of it into an indoor activity center.
And not for nothing, but they also know their way around DC politics. Anticipating the Old Georgetown Board putting its foot down on exterior changes, the Levy Group might already be planning an end-around to the Mayor’s Agent.
Other DC-based developers might be familiar enough with the lay of the regulatory/historic preservation land while lacking the potential upside that the Four Seasons connection could provide. So that’s why GM is predicting that if it’s not the Levy Group that wins the auction, it’ll be some New York-based group blissfully unaware of the unknown unknowns that this property could have in store.
So who do you think will win it? GM will reward the first person to guess correct below a free lunch at Stachowski’s.