The Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corp. yesterday chose three developers as finalists in the competition for the right to rebuild the Willard Hotel and redevelop the land adjacent to it.

Eliminating six of the nine candidates for the $50 million to $60 million project, PADC's board of directors narrowed the field to three builders and their hotel operator partners:

The Oliver T. Carr Co. of Washington and Intercontinental Hotel Corp. of New York, a subsidiary of Pan American World Airways.

Stuart S. Golding of Clear-water, Fla., and the Fairmont Hotel Co. of San Francisco.

MAT Associates of Chicago and Trust Houses Forte of the United States, the American subsidiary of a major European lodging company.

One of the three will be selected as developer of the Willard when the PADC's board meets again on Dec. 19. PADC will then negotiate an agreement with the developer and turn over to the firm the oncegrand, now-vacant hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue.

"By 1982 we can look forward to a newly opened Willard," said W. Anderson Barnes, executive director of the PADC.

Barnes said all three developers propose restoring The Willard to its turn-of-the-century grandeur and operating it as a luxury hotel.

Besides the Willard, at the northwest corner of 14th Street and Pennsylvania Ave., NW, the project includes the tiny Occidental Hotel just west of the Willard and the remainder of the block between the Willard and the Washington Hotel.

The three proposals selected by the PADC board provide vastly different answers to the PADC's demand for what Barnes called "a project that will contribute to a lively, appealing downtown."

The Carr plan calls for building an office building on the site between the Willard and the Washington; Golding would use that property for additional hote rooms and MAT proposes offices and apartments.

All three plans would restore the lower floors of the Willard, but gut the upper floors and build new guest facilities. The MAT and Carr proposals project about 400 hotel rooms in the Willard, but Golding plans much bigger rooms and suites and only 300 of them.

Golding would build another 300 luxury hotel rooms next to the Willard in a building echoing the Willard's arches and turrets. It was designed by Hardy, Holzman Pfeiffer Associates of New York.

Carr, who was the first developer to seek PADC authority to restore the Willard, proposes a 270,000 square foot office building next to the Willard, with a massive enclosed arrium between the two buildings.

Architects for Carr are Cossutta Associates of New York and Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum and David N. Yerkes & Associates, both of Washington.

Behind the Victorian facade of the building would be a 121,000 square foot office building facing F Street NW, and a 16-story apartment building on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Architects for MAT are Welton-Beckett Associates of New York.

All three projects include some retail shops, ranging from 40,000 square feet of stores on the lower level of Carr's office building to 66,000 square feet of boutiques in the Golding design.

None of the builders has made public estimates of how much their projects would cost, but PADC officials say the total price could top $60 million.

With the selection of a developer for the Willard, the PADC will have spurred development of $200 million worth of privately financed development along the avenue linking the White House and the Capitol.

Last month the PADC selected Marriott Corp. and Quadrangle, two Washington firms, to develop the block just east of the Willard. A $100 million hotel and office building is planned for that block, where Quadrangle is already beginning work on a smaller office building. A Boston builder, Cabot, & Forbes, recently purchased most of the block facing Pennsylvania Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets for another major office building.

Barnes projected that $180 million of additional development in the Pennsylvania Avenue area corridor will be announced within the next year and a half.

In selecting the three finalists for the Willard yesterday, the PADC rejected submissions by six other builder-hotel-architect teams.