Watergate Hotel To Be Auctioned Tuesday

Good, now we can put a Taco Bell there

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    As a selling bonus, the winning bidder will get to keep Bob Woodward, tied up and locked in a 9th floor closet.

    The famous Watergate Hotel, one of Washington's six ugliest exterior properties (along with the other five Watergate buildings), has been foreclosed, alas. But for every foreclosure process that ends, another firesale auction begins, so grab that checkbook and practice your "shrewd face" in the mirror: the auction is coming this Tuesday!

    But first, some history: the year was 2004, and "condos" were fast becoming the American economy's hot potato du jour. The developer Monument Realty bought the hotel that year with a plan to convert rooms into luxury condos. Then, however, "Some residents in the Watergate complex" -- catty neighbors -- "argued that a hotel was better for the health of the Watergate complex," an aesthetic argument that shockingly stood up in a court of American Justice.

    In 2007, Monument had finally worked out its new plan: to close the hotel for 18 months and launch a $170 million renovation, as a hotel! But what happened a year later? Just some Massive Economic Death: "Monument, in particular, was hurt by bad timing. Lehman Brothers, a partner and equity investor in the property, declared bankruptcy last year."

    Et cetera, et cetera, and finally the city sent Monument a 30-day foreclosure notice last month, which expires today.

    All this could be yours, on Tuesday. Drum up the cash. Get grandma to take out HELOC #4 on her crusty old radon shack. You'll pay her back, "later."

    And no, this is not the "Richard Nixon building."

    Jim Newell writes for Wonkette and IvyGate.