A slew of new hotels is being built and planned in the District.
A 14-story, 1,167-room Marriott Marquis hotel to serve the
convention center is under construction. Carr Hospitality plans a 268-room Willard-esque for the Southwest Waterfront. Cambria Hotels will open a 182-hotel as part of a mixed-use project in Shaw. And Marriott plans two additional hotels to serve the convention center.
Area builders are adding new hotel rooms about as quickly as they have historically. The Washington area has added about 1,900 rooms per year the last 10 years and about 2,000 rooms were under construction as of September, according to Delta Associates, with another 2,600 rooms set to begin construction in the next 12 months.
Given the economy, how can hotel development be so robust?
Who is financing all this hotel construction amidst flat job numbers and an economy possibly headed backing into a recession?
Answer: the District government. The District put $272 million and land into the convention center hotel, another $198 million plus land into the Southwest Waterfront and $260 million into the CityMarket at O project that will feature the Cambria. The developers of the next two Marriotts have asked the city for $35 million.
Perhaps the hospitality industry will recover sufficiently to support all the new rooms when they open, but some worry the D.C.-financed hotels may just end up cannibalizing one another. The closest competitor for the new Carr hotel, for instance, is the Mandarin Oriental Hotel — financed with $46 million in city funds.