Monument Realty hopes the action on the Watergate Hotel Tuesday will rival what made it famous. The storied property, a monument to our eventual freedom from President Richard Nixon, is set to be auctioned. The real estate developer that bought it five years ago – hoping to restore it – received a foreclosure notice and had to find a buyer. Originally, Monument had its figurative fingers crossed for some relief form lender PB Capital, but it’s pretty clear that the Tooth Fairy wasn’t listening.
Before we rush to lament the forced sale of the most famous hotel in our nation’s capital, keep in mind that it hasn’t been open since Monument bought it in 2004. The company still owes $40 million on the hotel. Nothing’s happening. And, while we can blame today’s economic climate for the failure of this endeavor to launch, the reality is that Monument pissed away several months of prosperity.
Stupidity – rather than economics – is the driver behind this auction.