Friday, March 04, 2011

West End Hotel, Waiting for 2

It may be up to three years before Starwood Capital Group moves forward on with a hotel at 22nd and M in the District's West End. The project that was to have been developed by Perseus Realty has been on hold for several years, having been slated for the city's first eco-luxury, LEED-certified 1 Hotel, a brand that would have offered 150 rooms, 23 suites, an organic day spa, fitness center and restaurants.

"My sense is they are waiting for the financial markets to thaw out a little more," said ANC2A Commissioner Rebecca Coder. "From the neighborhood perspective...there would be a preference for multi-family housing, but we're open to the hotel that's approved as well." Coder said she knew of other developers having approached Starwood about purchasing the land to develop as part of Eastbanc's redevelopment of the post office, library fire station, but the offer was declined.

In phone calls yesterday, both Starwood Capital and Perseus would not comment on the development. But sources say the hotelier has been talking with other operators about possibilities for the site. When asked, Perseus said the company is still the developer for the project.

The two formed an agreement in 2007 to build the hotel. The site was the former location of the Nigerian Embassy and Asia Nora, both demolished in 2008 - no architectural loss - to make way for 1. The project never got off the ground. Last year, Starwood abandoned the 1 Hotel concept, and has since considered other brands. Starwood and Perseus had hoped to decide upon a direction by the end of 2010.

But locals are unhappy that the choice site has become a weed garden. "We are talking to people to decide what to do with the land in the interim, something that may generate money," said Coder. She mentioned the possibility of parking, but the PUD may prevent the developer from such a plan for temporary use. "It's really long time for the neighborhood to put up with an empty lot."

Washington, D.C. real estate development news


Unknown on Mar 4, 2011, 4:31:00 PM said...

I walk past this everyday, what a waste of space. The fence is partially caving in and the land is not kept up. We don't need another hotel in West End, we need retail and residential units.

Anonymous said...

I still don't know who would want to stay in a hotel adjacent to a fire department (and there are many hotels in the area). People who have spent a million on condos near the fire department must be crazy... or deaf.

Anonymous said...

They should use this space for the Golden Casino Palace, aka "National African-American Museum" instead of the National Mall.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, Rory. The West End is oversaturated with hotels, the unanticipated result of zoning which required at least half residential for all developments--but then counted hotels as residential. Back in the day (i.e. prior to about 2000), new residential in D.C. was few and far between, so naturally most West End developers chose the hotel option.

But one wonders, is there any particular use which could be the spark igniting the fire that will transform the West End from dull (but pleasant) to dynamic (but still pleasant)? It's hard to see how more ultra-high-end apartments or condos over a single story of retail would do it.

Perhaps an arts use, complementary to the reopened West End Theater, or an educational use, or a community based recreation use (such as a Y)--in each case below residential. Within the hospitality umbrella, what about a youth hostel of some sort? Probably none of these would pencil out, but few developers would even consider it unless someone else puts the idea out there.

Anonymous said...

hotels live harmoneously with fire stations in dc already and they make great neighbors. the departments know to turn on sirens just out of ear shot and hoteliers work with the firemen, who are wonderful citizens and people, to make the location work. it's a win/win situation. this space has incredible potential...maybe some concerned local citizens should step up, contact their ANC and make a difference.

Yeah, Right said...

Yes, the Foggy Bottom ANC crowd should get involved so that they can start a big fight over it just like they have fought every other development in their neighborhood for years.

Olegai said...

Anonymous - your ideas for the site are wonderful. If you could get a group together to pay $20 million for the site, plus pay over $25,000 per month to DC for real estate taxes, and build an arts center, or a theatre, that would be really cool. Go for it, and make a difference.

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