On Nov. 10, Washington, D.C. Chairman-elect Kwame R. Brown, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Mayor-elect Vincent C. Gray and leaders from the Washington Convention and Sports Authority (WCSA) gathered to inaugurate ground in the District’s historic Shaw neighborhood in preparation for the 2014 opening of the Marriott Marquis Convention Center Hotel, located at Ninth St. and Massachusetts Ave., N.W., across from the Washington Convention Center. The site will be expected to fuel the surrounding community with both construction jobs and long-term hotel jobs once construction is completed.

“It’s critical that residents and local businesses benefit from the jobs and other opportunities created by the construction of the hotel,” Brown said in a press release.

“I believe in accountability and I’m confident that the development team and the leadership at Washington Convention and Sports Authority will be vigilant and ensure promises are being kept into the future.”

Planning for the hotel was forced to take a backseat due to economic struggles. But the steady force of Brown and fellow colleague, Ward 2 council member Jack Evans, helped push the charge forward by passing a public-private financing option that allowed the construction to advance. Continual developments are something Brown would like to see become a trend in the city—not only in the major downtown areas but also directly in some of the neighborhoods throughout the city along important commercial corridors.

The $520-million development will be expected to be a major player in the District’s tourist attraction market upon its arrival. The hotel will feature 1,175 rooms, 46 suites and 100,000 square feet of meeting space. While the hotel will surely help flourish the District with future hospitality jobs, construction of the site is expected to provide approximately 1,600 construction jobs immediately. Planning for the hotel has taken the city over 20 years to put into works, making its groundbreaking a special one.

“This is an historic day for the Shaw community and District residents who have waited and fought for this project to become a reality,” Brown said. “This is a milestone and I’m excited about the opportunities for residents to find jobs and for small business owners to participate in the economic rewards of the city. Despite tough times, we were able to come together to help make the District a world-class convention destination.”

 

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO