Watergate Hits the Auction Block - NBC 6 South Florida

Watergate Hits the Auction Block

Site of the notorious Nixon scandal is up for grabs



    Watergate Hits the Auction Block
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    The Watergate building is up for grabs.

    Deep Throat fans better have some deep pockets to get their hands on this one.

    The building at the center of this century's most notorious political scandal will hit the auction block Tuesday morning, when eager history buffs can vie to own a piece of the Watergate legacy.  Alex Cooper Auctioneers was scheduled to start the sale of the Washington landmark at 10:15 a.m. According to the company's Web site, a $1 million deposit will be required at the time of sale.

    The Watergate Hotel, the site of the staged break-ins that would eventually lead to President Richard Nixon's resignation and  explode across national headlines (OK, at least where the burglars slept before breaking into the office complex next door), will be sold off to the highest bidder this week as its current owners face a mound of debt and disrepair.

    The hotel's some 251 rooms have been empty since 2007 as its owners struggled to pay off heavy bank loans that left the property in foreclosure.

    The bank fronting the $40 million loan couldn't shoulder the bill, the Washington Post reported -- so it turned to the legacy behind the building to make a sale.

    Developers who attempt to restore the hotel to its former glory are facing up to $100 million in renovations, developers told the Post, but that hasn't stopped interested bidders from a luxury Middle East hotel chain to a big-time D.C. development firm from eyeing the property.

    If that happens, at least one private buyer will definitely step forward to try to buy it back: Robert Holland, an international residential and commercial developer whose Washington projects include the Georgetown waterfront complex and Dupont Circle's West End.

    Holland said his group of investors does not want to participate in a public auction but would be interested in a private purchase.

    "At the end of the day, I believe this will be the premiere hotel in Washington," said D.C. developer Robert Holland, who's also built the Georgetown waterfront complex and Dupont Circle's West End.

     "Eighty percent of the rooms have water views, and they're not great -- they're spectacular," Holland said.