Wednesday, August 12, 2009

DC Officially Gets its Convention Center Hotel



Washington DC Mayor Adrian Fenty will hold a very public ceremony this evening to officially ink the legislation that will kick-start, finally, the District's Convention Center Hotel. In a 5:30pm ceremony, the Mayor will sign the New Convention Center Hotel Amendments Act of 2009, granting authority to spend $182m in TIF funds and $35m in bonds to go toward the construction, operation, and maintenance of an 1160-room, 14-story hotel opposite the lonely Convention Center.

Technically, the bill amends the Washington Convention Center Authority Act of 1994 to further fund the Washington Convention and Sports Authority (WCSA), which will own the hotel, and instructs the WCSA to contract Quadrangle Development to get it built, and with Marriott to operate the new hotel. The Act authorizes Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and the issuance of bonds, to fund up to $206m in construction and operational costs. The remainder will be paid for by private developers. Funds derived from bonds and TIFs will go solely toward hotel expenses, and not into DC's General Fund.

The District government has actively conspired to get the new beds as a rebuttal to National Harbor, which hosts a larger convention center and five, count 'em, five hotels surrounding it. Not to mention that a nice river runs by it. But back to DC, where the massive hotel will serve the convention center, and ensure the success of the convention center. Of course, it was the convention center itself that was supposed defibrillate the moribund Shaw neighborhood and spark development of the area, expectations that many of the convention center's original backers feel have not been met. Officials have maintained that construction could start as early as October, with about a three-year time frame for completion.

Plans for the hotel went through many iterations before today, beginning with an even more ambitious plan that would have stretched the hotel over L Street and onto the next block for more than 1400 rooms. The city had also pursued a public-financed option that would have committed the Authority to picking up the $530,000,000 tab in full. The current version incorporates the historic American Federation of Labor Building (pictured) into the Marriott, which will otherwise overtake a swath of surface parking lots. The hotel will become the third largest in DC, and fourth largest in the region. The largest, at 2000 rooms, remains the Gaylord, at National Harbor.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Any word on the L Street side that was once part of the development plans? Hard to believe that they are still sitting empty.

Brandon Green on Aug 12, 2009, 4:57:00 PM said...

Great news, but any idea when it will open?

Anonymous said...

The convention center at National Harbor is not larger than DC's convention center. The thing that's larger at National Harbor is the 2,000 room hotel.

The 2.3 million square foot Walter E. Washington Convention Center has 941,000 square feet of function space.

The Gaylord Convention Center has 470,000 square feet of function space.

If you count the number of meetings and conventions held in DC's hotels such as the Omni Shoreham (100,000 square feet of meeting space and a 17,000 square foot ballroom) or the Washington Marriott Wardman Park (195,000 square feet of event space) or the Hilton Washington (110,000 square feet) or the DC Armory (118,000 square feet) or the Renaissance Hotel which is down the street from the convention center (65,000 square feet), they equal to an amount larger than that of the Gaylord complex without even including the numbers for the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

In addition, the new Marriott Convention Hotel will include 100,000 square feet of meeting space that will be directly connected to the Washington Convention Center (aka expansion since it will be WCAA controlled).

And, another internal expansion, creating more meeting and convention space:
http://washington.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2009/02/23/daily81.html

In summary, DC's convention and meeting space capacity is more than several times the amount that the Gaylord complex will ever have.

Shaw Rez on Aug 13, 2009, 10:35:00 AM said...

Anon -- re: L Street, Marriott plans to build two smaller hotels across L Street from the large convention center headquarters Marriott Marquis hotel. The last word I heard was that the hotels would be a Courtyard by Marriott and a Residence Inn and that Marriott had to wait on execution of plans on the mega-hotel before breaking ground on these. These two smaller hotels will build upon currently boarded up vacant properties and will feature street level retail on Ninth, so the area around the CC will be a fabulous convention center district soon.

Brandon - 2013.

Anonymous said...

Hey Shaw-Rez, thanks for the update on the L Street side of the development. Three years constructions...yikes! It'll be so nice when done though!

Anonymous said...

This is great news.

That national harbor is a waste anyways. Who wants to have a convention way out there? What would guests do when not in the convention? Go tour PG county? Yeah right.

MFlav said...

I am a DC resident, so anything (affordable) we can do to keep conventions here is great. However, in defense of National Harbor (I was just there for a conference), for a two or three day conference, the restarants and bars surrounding it leave it wth enough things to do.

 

DCmud - The Urban Real Estate Digest of Washington DC Copyright © 2008 Black Brown Pop Template by Ipiet's Blogger Template