Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Marriott Monopoly

Marriott International Inc. is expanding its domination of the Washington DC metro hotel market. Their latest acquisition is a 2.4 acre triangular parcel in an Alexandria Virginia office park, where they plan to roll out one of their least established brands - the so-called Springhill Suites - maintaining a virtual monopoly over business travelers at the bustling junction of Telegraph Road and Eisenhower Avenue.

Located at 2950 Eisenhower Avenue, the new hotel will fall at the western end of the Alexandria Tech Center and stand just a stone's throw away from the Capital Beltway. This newest Springhill Suites will measure in at five-stories and 152 rooms, made up of 106 king suites and 46 double queen suites. Amenities planned for the site include an indoor swimming pool, lounge, small conference room, a gym, an outdoor terrace and shuttle service to the nearby Eisenhower Avenue Metro Station. Designed by architects Davis Carter Scott, the project is expected to come in at a cost of roughly $13 million.

The project was unanimously approved by the both the Alexandria Planning Commission and City Council in mid-November. Marriott already has a hotel in the Alexandria Tech Center – a 98,000 square foot Marriott Courtyard that bookends the opposite side of the development.

The Planning Board staff praised the Springhill project as providing “an enhanced gateway to the Alexandria Tech Center and the Eisenhower Valley with an open space plaza and interesting building design,” but also chastised them their intention to use chintzy motel building materials – in this case a synthetic stucco called StoCreativ Granite.

Any qualms were abated, however, with promises of new jobs, an expanded “commercial tax base,” LEED certification and – a point not lost on urban planners - $13 million in promised new tax revenue to be generated by the hotel over the next decade. A number of local associations, including Carlyle Eisenhower Civic Association, the Cameron Parke Home Owner Association, the Eisenhower Partnership and the Alexandria Federation of Civic Associations, have also lent their approval to the project.

Marriott describes the Springhill Suites brand as “a prototype…geared toward the younger business traveler” with less expensive, yet large rooms with accompanying work space and internet access. In addition to the neighboring Courtyard location, the Tech Center’s newest tenant will also join a Strayer College location and a cluster of mid-rise office buildings along Eisenhower Avenue. Construction is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2009.

In addition to the planned Springhill Suites location, the hotelier also has plans in the works for double hotels on one block in downtown Crystal City and another under construction in Arlington’s Courthouse District, as well as several in Arlington and Washington DC. Lacey


DG on Dec 23, 2008, 2:15:00 PM said...

perfect example of a building not fitting the site. if you are going to try to make it look edgy and cosmopolitan, don't give me a grassy buffer that totally ruins the effect. either be urban, or integrate better with the natural setting.

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