Monday, September 24, 2007

DC Announces New Convention Center Hotel




Washington DC Mayor Adrian Fenty announced today that the District has signed an agreement with Marriott International to build a new hotel at 9th and L Streets, on the west side of the new convention center. Marriott had been planning on as many as 1400 units at the site, and has been expected to begin the project since at least early this year, but will now scale the project back a notch, building approximately 1140 rooms and not begin construction for at least a year. The hotel is expected to open in 2011.

The two-acre site, combined from 2 parcels separately operated by the Washington Convention Center Authority (WCCA) and Kingdon Gould III, is currently mostly vacant and is being used as a parking lot. Gould's portion of the site is being traded for a portion of the old Convention Center site that the District now controls. Gould was not part of the agreement today, but has agreed in principal to terms of the transfer. Marriott has agreed to begin the planning process immediately, incorporating the land south of L Street and north of Massachusetts Avenue, along 9th Street. Sean Madigan of DC's Office of Planning says the site plan will no longer include the parcels north of L Street, which Marriott previously acquired in expectation of building into the final designs, but will likely incorporate the historic office building at the southeastern corner of the lot into the hotel. The utility building at the northeastern corner of the block will remain. Madigan said the transaction has been signed and will be executed "shortly", but would not speculate on a timeframe.

The entire transaction is valued at about $540m, of which $134m will be contributed by the DC government through Tax Increment Financing (TIF) in the form of bonds issued by the WCCA and repaid by taxes generated through the hotel. The city will lease the site to Marriott for 99 years, on which Marriott will build and operate the hotel.

Furthering DC's new legislation for the construction of 'green' buildings, Marriott has agreed to meet the District's standards with a building that will be LEED certified, meeting the U.S. Green Building Council's "Silver" standard. The hotel will include 100,000 s.f. of meeting space and at least 400 new parking spaces, but it is unclear if retail will be included in the new design.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good, the lack of hotels here is a big problem. The already struggling convention center is facing stiff competition from its PG cousin, partly because of the lack of amenities. I was one of the ones that thought the convention center would, in its own right, generate the kind of urban renewal that would improve its own neighborhood, lifting itself up from its own bootstraps. I'm continually surprised that years later we have no services right there. Maybe the city needs to step in and pay for the kind of improvements that its done in other sectors, just to get a retail strip going. I don't think it would take much, some widening of the sidewalks, a few retail stores, a public park. Its amazing that the area seems perpetually devoid of life even with the thousands that can pass through the doors in any given day.

Anonymous said...

Good, that parcel is insanely underutilized.

Anonymous said...

Mass Ave. might actually become an interesting street. But God forbid it increases traffic there, I can't imagine moving any slower across town, the lights on Mass are so poorly timed its pathetic.

Colin said...

So we spend hundreds of millions on the convention center, with underwhelming results, and are now getting to lavish millions more on a hotel. Good thing we don't have more pressing priorities in this town other than hotels, conventions centers and stadiums.

Ken on Sep 26, 2007, 8:17:00 PM said...

Colin - Fine, I see your point, but of course the economic argument is that a hotel will bring in lots of jobs to build and then staff it, generate lots of taxes (hotels have high taxes), bring in visitors, and, most importantly, invigorate the area around the Convention Center so more people fill its halls. Of course we have pressing problems, but to ignore economic development would be short-sighted.

Geoff said...

Hey Ken,

I agree wholeheartedly with your response to Colin. As a professional involved in the international leisure travel industry, it is imperative that a city remain attractive to tourist dollars and - as is the case with the Convention Center - support the multi-million dollar revenue potential that comes with being a first rate host city for large corporate meetings and conventions. An anchor hotel, such as the one planned by Marriott, will dramatically increase the attractiveness of DC for these large conventions. All they need to do now is do something with the old CV site...

Ken - any additional news on what Marriott is planning on doing with the parcel North of L street?

Ken on Sep 29, 2007, 3:57:00 PM said...

The Convention Center site is moving along, massive planning for that was held up while the Council tried to decide what freebies they were asking for - library, garden, cheap housing, etc.

Marriott wouldn't speak much about it, and said they didn't have plans for that parcel. I would imagine they will sell it off, I would be surprised if they held onto it.

 

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