In the heart of the George Washington/West End neighborhood, a Marriott Courtyard Hotel could soon replace a parking garage, sandwiching a new nine-story building between offices and residences on an already crowded block. Designed by WDG Architecture and developed by Allstate Hotel Partnership, the project received original approval in 2006, but has since faced a lawsuit from an unhappy ANC chair and, of course, an extended finance drought. Recent efforts to obtain a general contractor, however, suggest the project team is gearing up to begin construction in the near future. But then again, maybe not.
The 125,000 s.f. hotel will bring upwards of 150 suites to the GW neighborhood. Project Architect/ Manager at WDG, Nelson Lobo, said the hotel is "a very urban project, unlike other Courtyards...it's not a little three-story building in the middle of nowhere." The building has a "contemporary design," added Lobo, and "fits in with the GW area."
That's not what many a Foggy Bottom neighbor thought during the zoning process. The ANC and other Foggy Bottom civic organizations opposed the development, expressing concerns about the increased traffic and the likelihood of blocked streets during construction. After the project received zoning approval in 2006, Dorothy Miller, an ANC Chair and active member of the Foggy Bottom civic community, filed a suit in the D.C. Court of Appeals against the Board of Zoning Adjustment's (BZA) approval of the hotel plan. The suit halted any planned progress on the hotel despite its completed review. But in May 2008, the Court sided with the BZA.
The win for the developers started the two-year clock given to developers during which they must take clear steps to execute the planned development, by starting demolition and construction. Coming up on that two-year mark, the development team either needs to get digging or head back for a zoning extension. The group is currently deciding on a general contractor, but architect Lobo said right now the timeline depends on the financing. "It might happen in the next four months, it might happen in the next three years," Lobo said with little certainty. Our money is on the developers seeking an extension to their approved plans.
For now, neighbors can continue to enjoy the lovely 420-car parking garage with the knowledge that the Marriott's future is uncertain.
Washington, DC real estate and development news