Developer Greg Fazakerley has emerged as one of the key figures helping to broker a deal between two sides locked in a heated dispute over where to build the District's largest hotel and how to pay for it.
Fazakerley, a former president of the D.C. Building Industry Association, will try to negotiate a compromise between Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) and some developers on one side, and Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp (D) and some members of the Washington Convention Center Authority board on the other, according to developers and sources close to the mayor and the convention center board.
Developer Greg Fazakerley steps in to the dispute about where to put Washington's largest hotel.
(Bill O'leary -- The Washington Post)
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Fazakerley volunteered for the task and was seen as someone who might be able to break the stalemate because he is a knowledgeable developer and hasn't been involved in the controversy, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the confidential negotiations are still underway. Many developers have stakes in the decision.
"It was really important to bring in somebody who didn't already have a position staked out," said Robert A. Peck, president of the Greater Washington Board of Trade. "That's the only way to get it done. He's got the diplomatic skills to pull it off." Fazakerley, who lives in Middleburg, did not return phone calls seeking a comment.
The parties have been arguing over the location of the hotel for two years. Williams wants to build the hotel at Ninth Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW, next to the new convention center at Mount Vernon Square. He wants the construction financed by tax-exempt bonds, plus savings from the refinancing of the new convention center.
Cropp and some of the eight members of the convention center authority's board, which oversees the operations of the convention center, want the hotel built on the old convention center site, two blocks south. They argue that it would save the District money because it already owns the land. Enter Fazakerley.
Fazakerley is seen as a neutral party in the hotel dispute, and he has been involved in development issues in the area. He chaired the committee that oversaw construction of the new 2.3-million-square-foot convention center. He was involved in the founding of the D.C. Downtown Business Improvement District, which promotes development in Washington. He is also a member of the Federal City Council and of the Greater Washington Urban League.
Over the years he and his wife have given $21,500 to the mayor and several influential D.C. Council members, including Cropp and Council member Harold Brazil, who chairs the council''s Committee on Economic Development.
Fazakerley, 56, studied political science at American University, according to his wife, Candy. The couple met in the 1970s at International Business Machines Corp., where they both sold word processors and copiers to the federal government and invested in real estate.
"We drove around in $700 cars and we bought real estate," Candy said. "We bought places, moved into them and then moved out and rented them. All of our friends were driving around in Porsches and Mercedes. We were buying places. I had one in Capitol Hill, another in Wheaton. Greg had one in Dupont and another in Old Town Alexandria." The couple left IBM and got into commercial real estate in 1977, going into business with a homebuilder to build 160 townhouses in Old Town Alexandria. By 1983, they bought out the partner and became the owners of Development Resources Inc. They made a name building small headquarters buildings for trade associations in Old Town Alexandria.