Monday, November 10, 2008

The Convention Center Hotel Cometh

View of the future Washington Convention Center Hotel from Mount Vernon Square.

Massachusetts Avenue View

Ninth Street View

L Street View
Renderings: The Cooper Carry - TVS Collaborative

The Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on the plan for the Marriott Marquis Convention Center Hotel on November 24, 2008. It will be one of three Marriott Marquis hotels in the United States designed to offer "dramatic, entertainment-oriented destinations" with "a broad range of high-end social and business experiences." The hotel is scheduled to open in 2012. Marriott has not received the $300 million needed in financing yet, but they don't think that will be a problem, according to the Washington Business Journal. They have received $134 million in tax increment financing from the District - in which the city sells bonds serviced by future tax revenue anticipated from the project.

Here are some of the details:
  • Hotel Size: 765,400 square feet of gross floor area
  • Guest Units: 1,166
  • Meeting and Assembly Space: 100,000 square feet
  • Height: 130 Foot Maximum, 45 degree setback above 110 feet
  • FAR: 9.3
  • Underground Parking: 2 levels, 400 spaces
  • Special Features: An underground pedestrian tunnel will connect the hotel to the convention center below Ninth Street between Massachusetts and L Streets.
  • Historic Element: The American Federation of Labor building at Ninth and Massachusetts will be incorporated as a boutique hotel linked to the main hotel, including 42 guestrooms and a restaurant/bar.
  • Retail/Restaurants: "Proposed project will have streetscape animated by outdoor seating areas associated with food and beverage outlets." Floor plans envision a specialty restaurant on Massachusetts Avenue and 10th Street, a corner bar at Massachusetts and 9th Street, a coffee shop on 9th Street just north of Massachusetts Avenue, a sports grill at 9th and L Streets, and a full-service restaurant mid-block on L Street.
  • Main Entryway to Hotel: Massachusetts Avenue.
  • Environmental: Will achieve LEED silver certification.
  • Bus Drop Off Area: Mid-block on L Street NW.
  • Loading Dock: Below ground.
It is my hope that the headquarters hotel will revitalize 9th Street. The convention center design has a fatal flaw that, in my opinion, tremendously set back 9th Street when it could have spurred a positive change. That's because the great white elephant has no retail or restaurant frontage, or any interaction with the street whatsoever, on a 2-block stretch along 9th Street between Massachusetts Avenue and M Street (aside from the problems in getting its own retail up and running). The result is that the design cuts off the convention center foot traffic from the rest of Shaw and makes it very difficult for businesses on that stretch to do well because retail on both sides of the street is important, if not essential, for a vibrant business corridor. So today, five years since the opening of the convention center, the west side of the 9th Street remains lined with vacant storefronts and small businesses that are struggling to survive (the 7th Street side is long waiting for development as well, and has been bought up piece-by-piece by Douglas Development).

If done right, the convention center hotel has the potential to drive pedestrian traffic from downtown, DC up into Shaw from Massachusetts Avenue up to the soon-to-be-coming renovated O Street Market at P Street. Wouldn't that be something?


SG said...

Looks great! Any word on the timeline? I won't hold my breath on financing though... they shouldn't have a problem due to the huge TIF awarded to them, but nobody is lending right now- even for good projects (see Conn. Ave & K).

Also, can you do a writeup on City Center? I think that is perhaps an even more important project for our city.

Cary Silverman said...

SG - opening of the hotel is anticipated in 2012, but don't be surprised if that moves back a year or so. I don't have any info on groundbreaking, but they are still in the zoning process, and would then have permitting. I would project that groundbreaking is at least one year away - mid-2010 - assuming everything goes smoothly.

You read my mind on CityCenterDC - check back in a few minutes for an update on that project.

SG said...

Mid 2010?? Wow, nothing ever goes as scheduled in this city. These are the two most highly-anticipated projects in the city and the slow wheels of bureaucracy won't churn any faster. Sorry for the rant, as I surely know if it were up to you, it would already be done!