WASHINGTON, DC-One of Washington’s most infamous establishments–the four-star Watergate Hotel–has hit the market. Current owner New York’s Blackstone Real Estate Advisors put the 37-year-old property up for sale last month, marking the third time the hotel has been up for grabs in the last 12 years. New York-based Eastdil Realty has been charged with marketing the property, which is the site of the 1972 break-in that set the Watergate scandal in motion and ultimately led to the 1974 resignation of President Richard M. Nixon.

Located in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood along the Potomac River, the hotel sits on Virginia Avenue in close proximity to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The Watergate houses within its wall 250 guestrooms, as well as approximately 10,000 sf of flex meeting space, 5,000 sf of exhibit space, and a nearly 6,400-sf ballroom. Blackstone acquired the property from Japan’s Nikko Securities Co. in 1998 for $39 million. Nikko bought the hotel from the British Coal Board, a pension fund for coal miners, in 1990 in a $48 million deal.

The hotel, developed in 1965 by current president of IDI Group Cos. Giuseppe Cecchi, has undergone a few multi-million dollar restorations in its lifetime. District records list the property’s assessed 2003 value at nearly $33.7 million. While the Watergate often refers to the entire complex–which consists of two office structures and three apartment buildings, in addition to the hotel–the hotel is the only structure that is up for sale. Industry speculation on how much the famed hotel will command this time around varies greatly, from a reported low of $50 million to a high of nearly $70 million. “We are just commencing marketing and have no concrete feedback to give yet,” Eastdil managing director Lawrence B. Wolfe tells GlobeSt.com. “Although, we expect a strong response.”

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