If you’ve wandered around downtown at all recently, you can’t help but notice the dichotomy of the Shaw-bordering-Penn Quarter neighborhood: the new Sexy Safeway and the upcoming Buddha Bar sandwiching a dismal and run-down street where police find their fair share of activity. You can’t help but wonder when all the vacant NEW buildings will be filled, let alone who is going to take care of the aforementioned pockets of gloom.
Well, there seems to be some good news. After a decade of discussions dating from 1998, DC’s City Council finally voted to approve $206 million in public money to help fund one of only three Marriott Marquis hotels in the world across the street from the Convention Center at 9th and Massachusetts. Bringing DC one step closer to a resolution of inadequate hotel space near the Convention Center, the hotel will provide an additional 1,000 + guest rooms to the area, enticing meeting planners around the world to bring huge conferences to DC. But don’t start making your reservations. While the new Marriott Marquis will break ground this fall, it isn’t expected to open it’s doors until early 2013 (could that sound any further away?).
More out-of-towners gallivanting around our city streets may sound gloomier than the current vacant behemoths, but the real news here is that this large investment is expected to be a vital project for the neighborhood, bringing stability and a continued revitalization. Let’s hope that means more local businesses and more investors willing to clean up a building or a block. I’m already looking forward to the addition of Taylor Gourmet to CityVista. I just wish someone would help out the one street I have to take to get there!
As a meeting planner this is a big deal, but as a local resident, I’m proud to see that the downtown revitalization is still on the up-and-up.