The JBG Cos. and Marriott International have reached an agreement in principle to allow construction to begin on the District's planned $550 million convention center hotel this fall.The Walter E. Washington Convention Center has been losing business to its closest rival, the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center since the Maryland venue was finished. The Gaylord is larger and, more importantly, has a hotel on the premises. The hotel, more than any other reason, is what has made the Gaylor such an attractive venue. The people at the Washington Convention Center have been screaming for years to have a world-class hotel next door to lure and keep people coming to D.C. instead of running off to other venues.
The District, with Marriott as a partner, has been trying to build a dedicated convention center hotel since before the Walter E. Washington Convention Center opened in 2003. The project appeared ready to begin last year until JBG, a Chevy Chase-based developer, sued the city alleging an irregular procurement process, halting the project.
And now, finally, the District will get competitive again.
Congratulations to everyone involved for doing what's right.