The District Council today passed legislation that authorizes and helps finance a new convention center hotel. The bill provides for District financing of nearly 40% of the costs of the Marriott Marquis Hotel, which government and civic leaders have sought for years to provide services to support the city's investment in the convention center.
The project has been on-again off-again for several years, with builder Quadrangle Development Corporation reducing the one-time size of the project and negotiating with the District, which by one recent plan would have funded the entire project in order to help kick start the neighborhood and use of adjacent Washington Convention Center.
Council members have been motivated to alleviate the Center's obvious Achille's heal - its dearth of hotels in the immediate vicinity - while distancing themselves from the cost of the project. Councilmember Kwame Brown (at-large) said in a press release that though today's legislation was "not ideal," the overall result was positive. "We went from a 100 percent publicly financed hotel to a deal that requires the developer to fund the majority of the costs." The mayor is expected to sign the legislation, which could get construction going as early as this fall. Development of the four-star hotel is expected to cost more than $500 million.