|The future Hilton Garden Inn in DC's West End|
If the deal closes today and construction moves forward in a few weeks as developers expect, deep-rooted weeds on the prominent corner in DC's West End neighborhood may soon be gone, salving neighbors' ire.
"We're very excited about moving this long-awaited project forward and becoming part of the community," Oakes said. He said contractors would break ground on the Hilton Garden Inn, planned for 2201 M Street, within weeks.
Turner Construction will be the general contractor on the project, Oakes said. OTO, based in Spartanburg, SC, is one of the three developers partnering to build the West End Hilton Garden Inn, a partnership which also includes Starwood Capital Group and Perseus Realty, LLC. Also Wednesday, the three partners were due to close on a deal consummating their joint venture agreement.
Shalom Baranes of Georgetown is architectural firm designing the terracotta and brick, 10-story, 237-room hotel, which will feature a second-floor, landscaped courtyard, meeting rooms, a rooftop garden and pool and a green roof, according to a project architect.
|The corner of 2nd and M has been an empty lot for years|
|Developers abandoned plans for this "eco-luxury" hotel|
Years passed. The lot sat empty, but D.C. wasn't the only place so-called "eco-luxury" hotels, envisioned to cater to a niche market of über-wealthy lovers of greenness and light, weren't sprouting. According to HotelChatter.com, Starwood's plans for a 1 Hotel in Seattle were withering too, along with the economy. Starwood started excavations for a 1 Hotel in Seattle, but later re-filled the hole and the lot reverted to a parking lot when it couldn't secure financing for the project, according to the Seattle Times.
Then, sometime between the nadir of the financial crisis and the birth of Occupy Wall Street, developers decided to change course on plans for 22nd and M after Perseus contacted more than 40 lenders, all of whom declined to finance the West End 1 Hotel project.
In 2011, developers sought permission to modify the site plans and instead of a boutique eco-luxury creation, they announced plans for a Hilton Garden Inn (a brand categorized as upscale mid-priced) with 237 rooms. The new incarnation now included Shalom Baranes as the architect, and OTO Development, a hotel development company based in Spartanburg, South Carolina, as a third development partner. Changes included a redesign of the exterior façades, an increase in the number of rooms and a three-foot reduction in height to 107 feet, and 53 parking spaces in a valet-operated garage. There were neighbors who balked.
|Plans for the Hilton Garden Inn at 22nd and M, West End, DC|
But if hotel site plan changes sparked West End fears of fanny packs, site developers and project architects maintain there is no need to fret about that. "This is very much upscale for the Hilton Garden Inn brand," lead project architect Patrick Burkhart said.
Burkhart said the hotel would feature a second-floor, landscaped terrace with outdoor seating areas, and a lobby with a fireplace, monumental staircase, and a water feature with plants cascading from the second-level terrace. The hotel will also feature a ground-floor restaurant and bar with indoor-outdoor seating opening onto the street on the corner of 22nd and M. Burkhart said the hotel marks a move by the Hilton Garden Inn brand into more urban areas, including D.C. where he said it would be the District's third.
|West End Hilton Garden Inn, Washington, DC|
At least some of those people may soon be destined for 22nd and M. Lucky for the West End, even fanny packs can be luxurious too.