Housing Complex

What Will the Convention Center Hotel Mean for Shaw?

A cross section: That's a big hole!

A cross section: That's a big hole!

The massive Marriott Marquis hotel planned for 10th and Massachusetts Avenue N.W. has been working through legal issues for so long now that nearby residents have almost forgotten it's on the way. But now, with a financial closing expected for October 27th and construction ready to start 10 days after, the prospect is starting to become very real.

At Shaw Main Streets' development forum last night, Capstone Development's Norm Jenkins took questions from residents about the 1,165-room behemoth about to land in their community. Concerns fall roughly into two categories: Construction, and how the finished project will affect the surrounding neighborhoods.

Construction impact will be large, to put it mildly. Build-out is expected to take 42 months, 10 of which will be dedicated to digging a 110-foot-deep hole and building back up to the surface (because of height restrictions that kept the building to 15 stories, there's almost as much space below grade as above it). 

Nearby residents still remember the long, loud process of building the three-block-long Convention Center. One neighbor, who works a night shift at the Washington Post, said he would get off work at 5:00 a.m. and have to sleep at the YMCA because construction was so loud at his house. At a previous meeting, another community member recalled the rats that had been displaced into surrounding blocks (and last night, one woman wanted to know if there were plans to relocate the feral cat community living on the site of the other, smaller hotels to be developed on the north side of L Street). Finally, there's the inevitable question of parking: Jenkins says that while plans are still being figured out, the scores of workers who will be on the site every day will not take up spaces in the neighborhood.

The other set of concerns centers around how the completed hotel will fit into the neighborhood, and what it will do for the local economy. The hotel will be largely self-contained, with six food and beverage outlets (a coffee shop, three different bars, and two restaurants) and a few retail shops. Jenkins projected that he'll be able to choose retail outlets that will enliven lackluster stores across the street at the Convention Center, but conventioneers won't ever have to go outside to patronize them: A tunnel under 9th Street will seamlessly connect the two buildings.

"The reason Washington wants this hotel is so they can be competitive," Jenkins said, in response to a skeptical query. "Having that tunnel in place is a key differentiator when people decide to bring their conventions to Washington."

The view from L Street.

The view from L Street.

Picture 7

A view from 9th Street.

A view from 9th Street.

  • J

    wait - so even with the hotel the neighborhood will be sorta screwed. A tunnel will mean no one walking on the streets, thus no storefront business. A coffee shop and 2 restaurants inside will surely take away from business as well. Only good I see is jobs for the unemployed.

  • pp

    the only people that think this is good for the neighborhood are people that stand to make money off of the deal.

    go talk to the owner of the Ruppert building about the committee of small business that she started when the convention center was being proposed. see how many of thoses business failed.

  • Keith Jarrell

    This is the Convention Center Hotel that has been held up for more than 5 years. Costing DC lots of large trade shows and conventions due to the lack of enough hotel rooms in close proximity to the convention center. Much of this business is now booked across the river in Prince Georges County at the National Harbor Center.
    With a convention center with cost over runs into the 200 million dollar area it is a shame that now the District has missed out on millions in dollars in taxes for the hotel rooms that are now booked in PG County, food taxes on meal that tourists would be eating in our restaurant's, and the profit for the convention center bookings that have either been missed or canceled. Now the city is moving forward with a rather unsightly generic hotel that will likely not be fully utilized.

  • dcrez

    I'm always amazed by how many people whine and complain about nearly everything on these blogs. The hotel will obviously be great for the city because it will bring many more large conventions to town, which will in effect boost tax revenue. While not every convention-goer will venture up 9th St., many will since the hotel will fill in a large and unwelcoming gap in the street fabric and make the street far more accessible than it is now. Right now, 9th St. appears desolate and dangerous because of the missing or boarded up buildings....filling in those gaps and tearing down the abandoned buildings to make way for the smaller accompanying hotels are the first major steps to making 9th St. more attractive for both convention-goers and area residents. How is this so difficult to understand?
    Also, while many of you may have chosen against a connecting tunnel, the reality is that convention-goers want easy access to their accomodations during the day so that they can take breaks from the convention and easily rest, shower, and change afterwards before heading out for the evening. Very few will actually stay in their hotel all night....why would they when they're in the heart of the nation's capital and have easy access to so many great neighborhoods?
    And finally, Keith, since when are convention hotels not generic and unsightly? Have you looked at National Harbor? It's about as generic and devoid of personality as they come, and yet it's still successful. Convention hotels only need to be large, comfortable, and in a great location to be effective. That's what they've designed this building to be. And on what exactly do you base your assertion that the hotel will not be fully utilized?

  • Eric

    Not everyone is going to use the tunnel. To get to and from the Convention Center in the morning, maybe, but it's not like these people are going to stay in the hotel or convention center for their entire stay. It's Washington, DC--people are going to want to explore. This isn't Cleveland (no offense to any Clevelanders).

  • http://tsarchitect.nsflanagan.net/ цarьchitect

    It's telling how much sexier the cross section is than any of the renderings.

  • http://vagabondhc.com/ nicoleclayton

    whatever, but the truth is that i love this kinda photography.

    Pictures are cool

  • http://www.flickr.com/ Mr. T in DC

    So, what is going to happen to the rather attractive, pre-WWII apartment building on the corner of 9th and Massachusetts? Will it be demolished, or will the hotel wrap around it? Hopefully the latter...

  • Jason

    Mr T,

    Judging from one of the renderings, the latter.

    I really think connecting tunnels are a relic of midcentury urban planning. Much like the "sky bridge" and windswept plaza across the street, they should probably go.

  • Rick Mangus

    What will happen to the displaced rats and feral cats!, they should of thrown those NUT JOBS out of the meeting!

  • just sayin’

    The convention center hotel will do for the neighborhood what the convention center itself does - nothing. The commercial areas around there are like the moon.

  • Sally

    It's gonna suck for years for anyone that lives and works or commutes in that area.

  • dcshaw

    It's always amazing how many people will find something to whine about when it comes to progress being made. I realize that businesses don't like construction near their locations but the few that exist along the 9th street corridor with the exception of Courdoroy are probably going to see more customers then ever from the construction crews. I would rather have some noise and disruption for the short term to enjoy the benefits that will come from a large hotel filling up that ugly lot.

  • ND

    Am I the only one wondering why the DC government is going to be in the hotel business? I'm no Tea Partier, by any means-- but seriously, if there is demand for more hotel beds (which there very well may be), can we just zone this block hotel and let the private industry pay for it?

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