Condo, Hotel Part of West End's Luxury Infusion

This rendering illustrates the lobby part of a $26 million renovation of the Renaissance M Street Hotel in Washington's West End.
This rendering illustrates the lobby part of a $26 million renovation of the Renaissance M Street Hotel in Washington's West End. (Renaissance Hotels & Resorts)

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By Dana Hedgpeth
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 18, 2006

New development is sprucing up Washington's West End -- a move that real estate brokers say will keep the part of the city where Foggy Bottom runs into Georgetown fresh as it competes with other hot areas.

Georgetown developer Anthony Lanier is building 92 condominiums in a project called 22 West at 22nd and M streets NW. The $100 million project sits on a former parking lot.

Scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2008, the condos will have nine-foot ceilings, Euro-style kitchens and custom closets, and the building will have a rooftop pool, exercise room and sundeck. Units range from $700,000 for a one-bedroom unit to $3 million for a three-bedroom with den.

Even with the slowdown in the housing market, the developer said, it has sold 25 percent of the units.

"At this point we don't have much competition from luxury buildings that are under construction," said Mary Mottershead, executive vice president and partner in charge of development at EastBanc, Lanier's development company. "Most people are waiting and watching. They're buying a bit slower. They're waiting to be able to walk into the unit and see what it looks like. When the market was really hot, people would sign up from just floor plans or drawings.

"Now they want to actually walk the unit and get a feel for it," she said. "They're going to make a decision closer to the date they're going to move instead of buying farther out. Everybody's afraid of being the one who bought at the peak of the market."

Nearby, the former Columbia Hospital is being converted to housing units, and at 24th and M streets developer JBG Cos. of Chevy Chase has an apartment project. The 414-room Washington Marriott at M and 22nd is undergoing a $6 million renovation that will be done in the spring of next year. Next to the hotel a Walgreens drugstore will occupy the spot where the landmark Blackie's restaurant operated for 50 years.

Another nearby project is the revitalization of the Renaissance M Street Hotel. The hotel closed in November and will reopen in February after a $26 million renovation of its guest rooms, lobby and heating and air-conditioning system. It will have more windows in the lobby, self check-in machines and a new restaurant.

"It's going to be a very unique project for the city," said Tom Puccio, director of sales and marketing at the hotel. "A lot of hotels tend to be very conservative. This is going to be a very warm, sophisticated, upscale hotel."

Mottershead said the latest development in the West End is occurring because "it's a convenient area."

"You can walk easily to Dupont, Georgetown or downtown. As it gets developed you're filling in sort of rundown sites and adding to the streetscape," she said. "Every building that comes along makes the street that much nicer."

Dana Hedgpeth writes about commercial real estate and economic development. She can be reached at hedgpethd@washpost.com.


© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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