Three older hotels just south of Thomas Circle NW are likely to be razed or remodeled, possibly for other uses.
Although none of the transactions has been completed, negotiations involving the Burlington, Hamilton and Ambassador hotels are in a serious stage. Downtown commercial realty specialists see the incipient deals as evidence of new interest in older downtown sites.
The 64-year-old Burlington, at 1120 Vermont Ave. NW, has 300 rooms and occupies a large site. It is scheduled to be sold by owner-operator Hudson Moses to a group headed by realty developer Sylvan Herman. The hotel will continue to be operated until the transaction is completed in 90 days. It is likely that a 500,000-square-foot office building will be started there this autumn.
The Hamilton Hotel, a 1923-vintage structure with 275 rooms at the northeast corner of 15th and K Streets NW, has been vacant for a year. The Salvation Army purchased the declining hotel in 1972 for $1.2 million and renovated it for use as a residence for single young women in 1974.
"Due to the location and a rule that young men were not allowed above the lobby level, that operation was such that we lost our shirt," commented Maj. J. B Matthews, general secretary of the SA.
Matthews said the property has been on the market for a year, at a reported $2.5 million asking price. He added that a group of local investors is expected to buy the hotel and convert it into an office building. However, the building may be remodeled and returned to use as a midtown hotel.
The 49-year-old Ambassador, a 416-room structure at 1412 K St. NW, is likely to be sold for nearly $2 million to an investor-developer group headed by attorneys Benjamin Jacobs, Donald Brown and Joseph Gildenhorn. "We are considering a variety of possible uses, including a new building," said Jacobs.
Interest in older properties east of 15th Street has increaded in recent months because of possible land assemblage costs in the range of $75 to $85 a square foot compared with $250 to $350 a square foot near Connecticut and K NW.
"Let's face it, we have nearly run out of developable land west of 15th, and there now is more interest to the east because of Metro, the convention center and Pennsylvania Avenue redevelopment plans, in addition to the lower cost of land," one broker commented.
The refurbished International Inn on the northeast side of Thomas Circle reportedly has enjoyed a resurgence of business, and there's a new Holiday Inn on the south side of the circle. The area to the north of the Burlington Hotel has been cleared and now is used as a parking lot. But the DeFranceaux Realty Group plans to develop a luxury apartment-office building on that site, which touches the Maidson Hotel to the west.