BET Co-Founder Looks To Buy Trump’s D.C. Hotel
By Shakora Bamberg
- Sheila Jonson has her sights set on taking over the lease of the Trump International hotel in Washington D.C.
- Since Johnson opened her resort in Middleburg, VA real estate tax revenue alone has increased 7x to to $745K annually
There are a group of investors with their sights set on taking over the lease of the Trump International hotel in Washington D.C., and Sheila Jonson is among them. As a principal shareholder with a stake in three sporting teams including the Washington Wizards, Capitals and the 2019 WNBA Champion Mystics, Johnson is a secret weapon in the business world, especially when it comes to hotel ownership. Johnson is reportedly planning to acquire the lease for the Trump hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, that industry experts say could sell for between $300 million and $350 million.
Why This Matters: We know her as one of the co-founders of BET Network, with her then-husband, Robert Johnson, but she isn’t new to hotel ownership. Johnson started with a 340-acre farm in Middleburg, Va., and developed it into the Salamander Resort & Spa, back in 2013. In the resort’s first year of business, the town’s occupancy tax revenue increased by six times, from $41,000 in 2013 to $248,000 the next year. Since Johnson opened her resort real estate tax revenue alone has increased seven times, from $107,000 to $745,000 annually in Middleburg.
Johnson started with a 340-acre farm in Middleburg, Va., and developed it into the Salamander Resort & Spa, back in 2013
The Trump International Hotel hit the market in October 2019, a year when it experienced 57% occupancy. An investor would have the opportunity to increase this by active marketing, since the hotel is operated through a long-term ground lease with the federal government. For the 263-room hotel they were seeking around $500 million.
"The site is located in a great location on Pennsylvania Avenue (blocks from the African American Museum, and the White House), but the hotel has had some challenges since opening,” said Curvin Letham, AreaProbe CEO.
What’s Next: Johnson told The Washington Post via telephone that she has an interest in the Trump International Hotel but declined to further comment. We’ll have to see if her interest remains as the real estate industry comes to a halt amid the coronavirus pandemic that has now put the sale of the Trump Hotel on hold.
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