“We don’t know yet,” Marriott said on a private flight to tour textile plants in Thomaston, Ga. and Union, S.C. “We’ve got a bunch of sites we’re looking at, but we have no idea where we’re going yet.”
Marriott did not say specifically where the company was looking. But, he added, executives were searching for a site large enough to accommodate its 2,000-plus employees, as well as current perks like a 275-child daycare center and company gym.
Would it also include personal favorite amenity, a pilates studio? Marriott, who turns 84 in two weeks, is known to be a practitioner.
“I sure hope so,” he said.
Marriott’s current headquarters takes up more than 900,000 square feet on Fernwood Road in Bethesda. Chief executive Arne Sorenson told The Washington Post last year that the company has definite plans to move when its lease expires in 2022.
The hotel giant, which oversees more than 4,400 properties around the world, is in the process of buying Starwood Hotels & Resorts — which includes brands such as the St. Regis, W and Westin — for $12.2 billion.
Marriott said it was too soon to tell when — and how — Starwood’s corporate employees would be brought into the fold.
“We’re working on a total organization plan,” Marriott said, adding that Starwood still has a lease on its headquarters in Stamford, Conn., which has about 2,000 employees.
The shareholders of the two companies are scheduled to meet later this month to vote on the deal. The purchase, awaiting approval from regulators, is expected to be finalized in mid-2016.
The combined hotel company would have 1.1 million rooms in more than 5,500 hotels around the world.
“It’s something I never, ever even imagined,” said Marriott, whose father founded the company in 1927. “I’ve always said we’ve built the business one hotel at a time. I can’t imagine that we have more than 5,500, almost 6,000 hotels.”