Thursday, October 2, 2008

Marriott Set to Transform 9th St.

First of all, apologies for not getting this recap up sooner...sometimes work just gets in the way.

This past Monday evening, representatives from Marriott were in attendance at the Washington Convention Center to discuss one of the most important projects to come to the Shaw/Logan/Mt. Vernon Sq. region in years:  the development of the Marriott Marquis Convention Center hotel.  The hotel, which is tentatively set to begin construction in June of 2009, will feature nearly 1200 rooms, four restaurants, a coffee shop, and other street level retail.  In our opinion, coupled with the forthcoming O St. market project, it will lead the transformation of 9th St. into one of the city's core commercial corridors.

Unfortunately, there are no images to share of the hotel, but I can boil down a few of the "talking points" that were discussed at the meeting.  
  • The Marriott Marquis hotel will be build on the parcel of land bordered by 9th St., Massachusetts Ave, 10th St. and L St.  The facade of the American Federation of Labor Building, currently fronting 9th St., will be incorporated into the structure.
  • Marriott also has ownership of the tract of and bordered by 9th St., L St., 10th St. and M St., and will construct two additional "boutique" hotels on the site.  Those hotels will integrate the existing historical structures along 9th and L streets into the facade, and will also feature street level retail.  Details about the "boutique" hotels will not be known until all details surrounding the Marquis flagship hotel are finalized.
  • The Marquis will feature an abundance of street level retail.  The corner of 9th and L will see the arrival of a "sports bar" (despite its name, Marriott officials were quick to say that the bar would not necessarily be a "sports themed" establishment, but rather would be a "high energy" bar-type establishment).  A coffee shop will be feaured along 9th St., as will other yet-to-be-determined retail options.  An upscale restaurant with outdoor seating will be located at the corner of 9th and Mass, and a "boutique" restaurant (the "hip" restaurant, according to Marriott execs--guess the other restaurant will be stodgy and boring?) will be Located at Mass and 10th streets.
  • In addition, the hotel will feature a full service restaurant located entirely within the premises of the hotel.
  • The hotel will feature floors dug as much as 75 feet below the ground, and will include 13 above-ground floors.
  • The Marquis will feature a 30,000 sq. ft. ballroom and a significant amount of meeting space, and will be connected via underground walkway to the Convention Center.
  • A special cut-out for a bus depot for large groups will be included along L St.
  • The Marquis has an anticipated construction start date of June 2009, and will wrap up by 2012.  No dates were given for the other boutique hotel developments. 
The reaction by the public seemed substantially positive, at least if the lack of substantive questions at the event are any indication.  One woman indicated that buses loading/unloading along L St. would be a "non-starter" for her (though I'm sure she'd be more than willing to muck up 9th St. traffic by moving the bus bay there).  The president of the Whitman resident's association was in attendance and expressed concern over the upkeep of the currently abandoned properties along 9th St. and L St. that will eventually become part of the two boutique hotels.  Marriott officials responded by stating that while they are taking some pains to secure the properties, since construction on the premises has not yet begun they could not guarantee the security of the abandoned properties.  Finally, one individual in attendance who noted that he himself was an architect asked numerous questions about the construction of the hotel, including gripping questions about the tpe of glass being used in the windows of the building.

Marriott officials promised to provide additional (and more complete) information once the plans became more substantive.

As I mentioned earlier, I think this project has the opportunity to be the boon for the Shaw/Mt. Vernon area that the Convention Center has not. As part of the ongoing revitalization of the 9th St. corridor, including the redevelopment of the O St. market, the opportunities presented to the neighborhood as part of this project will be substantial, and could literally help transform the neighborhood into something we wouldn't recognize today.  As we get any additional information about the development of the Marriott Marquis, we'll post it here. 

Please feel free to share your thoughts/concerns about the project in the comments section below.


Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that by "boutique" they mean a Courtyard by Marriott hotel and a Residence Inn hotel - seriously. Boutique here only means they're smaller.

Mr. 14th & You said...

Understood anon--I don't think anyone here harbors any illusions about some cutesy Euro-inspired boutique hotels rising along L St.