Repeat guests of the Marriott Wardman Park hotel, on Connecticut Avenue in Northwest Washington, may notice a change of scenery at the property if they come for a stay this spring: a new building under construction just next door.
So...what’s going on with construction at the Marriott Wardman Park?
Once upon a time, before the real estate bust (in 2005), the JBG Cos. and Los Angeles-based CIM Group purchased the Wardman Park Hotel for $300 million. The housing market was so hot at the time that the developers planned to transform the hotel into a condominium community. On an unbuilt part of the 16-acre property, they would also build another 200-plus condominiums.
After that, things took a turn for the worse. Not only did the housing market and national economy collapse, but Marriott resisted JBG’s plans to turn the hotel into condos. Keeping it as a hotel, however, became less palatable when District officials agreed to spend $550 million to build a convention center hotel downtown. JBG then sued the District over the convention center hotel plans and Marriott issued its own suit. In 2010 the parties settled, allowing the Wardman Park to remain a hotel but JBG to build its separate housing building. (If you know what else is in that settlement, please e-mail me right this minute.)
The new addition will be an eight-story, 211-unit apartment building, rather than condos. Designed by District-based architect David M. Schwarz, it is under construction now with completion scheduled for the first quarter of 2014. Originally dubbed Wardman West, JBG now tells me it will be called 2700 Woodley. The project will offer a chance to live next to the District’s largest hotel — that is until the 1,167-room convention center hotel is completed a few months later.
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