Guest Quarters, a Norfolk-based residential hotel chain, will open its third hotel here this spring.

The Washington Guest Quarters, at 2500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, is the first building built especially for the company, a spokesman said yesterday.

Contruction is running a little behind schedule, but the building is now set to open in May. Like all Guest Quarters hotels it will have only suites - 126 one-bedroom units - each with a living room, kitchen and separate bedroom.

The Pennsylvania Avenue project will be the fifth in the chain, which was started in Atlanta in 1972.

Work on a sixth hotel has begun in Houston's Galleria shopping complex.

The company also already operates a 107-unit residential hotel at 801 New Hampshire Ave. NW, and a 214-unit facility in Alexandria.

Catering to business travelers, people who are relocating or those on temporary assignments, Guest Quarters was started in 1972 by developer George Kaufman, who is now chairman, and Norfolk lawyer Shepard McKenney, president.The New Hampshire Avenue hotel frequently is used by performers at the Kennedy Center the company spokesman said.

Rates vary with locations, starting at $45 on New Hamsphire Avenue and $36 in Alexandria, with three-bedroom-suites at Alexandria for $80 a day.

Although the hotels have some long term residents and many guests who spend two weeks to a month, the average stay is 4 days, one day more than the hotel industry average.

Officers of the privately-held company won't reveal their occupancy rates, but say they also are higher than hotel industry averages.