Nine developers and the operators of some of the world's most successful hotels submitted nine different plans yesterday for renovation of the long-vacation Willard Hotel and construction of a new building - including hotel and commercial space - adjacent to it.
The submissions were presented to the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Commission, spurring hopes that the fabled Willard - long a social and historic landmark on the Avenue - would reopen as a hotel.
One of the proposals will be chosen this fall by the commission as the cornerstone of its plan to revive Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to the Capitol. Commission officials estimated that restoration of the Willard and construction of the new building next to it would cost up to $100 million.
Among the hotel keepers bidding for the Willard were Hyatt, Loews, Intercontinental Hotels, Radisson Hotels, Fairmont Hotels, Canandian Pacific and Trust Houses Forte, a London firm that is the biggest food and lodging company in the world.
All nine proposals call for restoring at least the lower two floors and the exterior of the Willard to their turn-of-the-century grandeur and modernizing the rooms. The adjacent building would house offices, condominium apartments and stores under various schemes.
PADC director William Barnes hailed the nine competitive proposals for the Willard as another indication of the rebirth of downtown Washington.
PADC on Monday will receive proposals for its second project - the National Press Building block, across 14th Street NW from the Willard. At least three developers will bid on that project.
Built in 1901, the Willard closed its doors in 1968, a victim of federal plans to clear the block for a mammoth plaza. By the time that plan lost favor the Willard was dead, gutted by souvenir hunters and scavengers.
After a lengthy legal fight, the PADC blocked plans to demolish the building and put up an office hotel earlier this year for $4.55 million.
The federally chartered redevelopment agency will lease the building shell to the chosen developer and will provide up to $5 million for rescuing the Willard's classic beauxarts architecture.
Barnes said the developer would be chosen by PADC's board of directors based on evaluations of which plan best fits the agency's goals - creating a mixed-use project with a first class hotel and related activities, with innovated design and deference to the needs of historic preservation.
"Activity is what we're looking for," he said. As a result, models and drawings submitted yesterday show movie theaters, rooftop and outdoor cafes, grand lobbies and spectacular interior courts. Several of the proposals incorporate multistory glass-roofed atriums over the Willard's old Peacock Alley.
Most of the plans also call for preserving at least the facade of the Occidental Hotel, a four-story building adjacent to the Willard.
The Washington Hotel, on the opposite side of the Willard block, isnot included in the redevelopment plans. The land between the two hotels is not owned by the PADC, but the agency has power to condemn it and transfer it to the Willard's developers, if they are unable to purchase it from its several owners.
Developers say renovation of the Willard will be so costly that the adjacent building, planned for the area west of the hotel, must be included in the project to spread the cost.
PADC is expected to pick a developer for the hotel in October, then negotiate a contract with that firm for the project. After that it will take two or three years to complete the project.
The developers who submitted plans yesterday, their hotel operating companies and their architects are:
The Oliver T. Carr Co. of Washington; Intercontinental Hotels, a subsidiary of Pan American Airways; David N. Yerkes and Associates and Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, architects.
Boston Properties, Inc.; Loews Hotels; Hartman Cox, architects.
Forest City Enterprises, Inc., Cleveland; Dunfrey Hotels of Hampton, N.H.; Graham Gund Associates, architects.
Stuart S. Golding, Miami; Fairmont Hotels Forte; Wilton Beckett, architects.
Hyatt-Willard Associates, Chicago; Hyatt Hotels; Arthur Cotton Moore and Associates , architect.
Willard-National Square, a joint venture, Radnor Associates, a subsidiary of Sun Oil and Radisson Hotels, Minneapolis, Perkins & Will, architects.
Holywell Corp. of Washington; Canadian Pacific Hotels: Vlastiniel Koubek, architect.