Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Marriott to stay in Bethesda, build downtown headquarters and hotel

Montgomery County hasn't attracted a single major corporation in nearly two decades, but at least the latest one threatening to depart has decided to stay. Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson announced this morning that the company has decided to relocate, but only from its Fernwood Road site into downtown Bethesda.

A site search is underway for 700,000 SF of office space, and also a 200+ room Marriott-branded hotel. According to the official announcement, negotiations are underway on several sites in downtown Bethesda, and the final choice is expected to be announced in the first half of 2017.

It's worth noting that if anything falls through, Marriott explicitly notes in the release that it could still relocate to another jurisdiction. That pointedly includes "support from the State and County."

The most logical sites, in my opinion, would be the Brookfield site on the Metro Center plaza, or Carr Properties' major redevelopment of the Apex Building property. Having said that, the Metro site is right up against the Hyatt, and the Apex plan would have to be significantly revised. Maybe one of our resident real estate experts can weigh in as to other potential properties that could fit these requirements.

In any case, this is great news indeed for Bethesda. All indications are that Gov. Larry Hogan's behind-the-scenes role has been critical to keeping this major corporation in a County whose elected officials have strongly anti-business voting records and policies. County Executive Ike Leggett credited Hogan in his official statement on the Marriott move.

“Marriott is a world-class company with deep roots in our state, and their decision to continue growing their business right here in Maryland is tremendous news,” Hogan said in a statement. “For over 60 years they have been a vital member of our business community, employing thousands of Marylanders, and making a real and lasting positive impact on our state’s economy."

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is even more imperative that the Purple Line is built.

Anonymous said...

Well that's good news, although traffic is going to be even more bananas in downtown than it is now. What about that new office off of East-West? Curious to see where it'll be

Anonymous said...

LOL at Dyer trying to make it all about Hogan.

He's still butthurt over Virginia losing Mars to Illinois last week, and now they lost their chance to poach Marriott-Starwood.

Robert Dyer said...

9:10: I guess Virginia's problem in this case was that they don't have Larry Hogan as their governor. Hogan has a 71% approval rating. 63% of Democrats love him, and 88% of Republicans, according to Washington Post. You're definitely in the minority on this one.

Anonymous said...

"63% of Democrats love him"

Are you sure about that?

Anonymous said...

Love is a strong word. I tolerate him for now because he doesnt let his crazy show.

Robert Dyer said...

9:21: If the Post says it, it must be true, right?

Anonymous said...

@946 shut up birdbrain

Anonymous said...

The Post didnt say "love".

Anonymous said...

The Bernstein site (Connor Building) is another potential alternative.

http://www.thebernsteincompanies.com/portfolio/bethesda-center

Anonymous said...

They love him because he's pretty much the opposite of Trump-type Republican that Dyer is, and by the way Hogan's own press release credits "Leggett and his team" with the deal.

Anonymous said...

Not enough density

Anonymous said...

This will ruin traffic and overcrowd the schools. I do not want this in Bethesda. Were residents even involved in this process or were their voices ignored?

Anonymous said...

Give more credit where it's due, Leggett was a very influential in this agreement. The governor said he worked with County Executive Ike Leggett to keep the company in Montgomery County.

Anonymous said...

10:30 and 10:34 SHUT THE FUCK UP. You goddamn NIMBY'S need to grow a pair, and stop pissing your complaints about traffic, traffic, traffic all over. You want growth, but when it comes you cry like Donald BITCH! Pack your shit an leave.

Anonymous said...

Great news. Of course Dyer feels compelled to frame it in the most douchey way possible, but I won't let that get me down.

Anonymous said...

Personally I'd rather be a bedroom community with less density if it means Bethesda will not be flooded with new students, cars, and little purple trains.

Anonymous said...

"This will ruin traffic and overcrowd the schools. I do not want this in Bethesda. Were residents even involved in this process or were their voices ignored?"

wtf? Please tell me you're joking. Some people, yeesh.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Governor Hogan! He is showing how effective Republican leadership can be.

I can't believe anyone would complain about this. Downtown Bethesda is the right place for Marriott. And now we can go ahead and close the White Flint Metro station per WMATA.

Anonymous said...

"Montgomery County hasn't attracted a single major corporation in nearly two decades"

Yet another falsehood. I guess half-a-billion-dollars-a -year Radio One doesn't count as a "major corporation?" Maybe it doesn't count because it serves mostly minorities, which Dyer's political party isn't a fan of?

Anonymous said...

@11:04 AM
"Personally I'd rather be a bedroom community"

Get ready for the attack from Dyer

Anonymous said...

"And now we can go ahead and close the White Flint Metro station per WMATA."

Umm, no.

Anonymous said...

Hogan can't keep pedestrians safe but has time to hob nob with billionaires? Impeach Hogan.

Anonymous said...

Hans Reimer does it again!

Anonymous said...

Hogan has been an much more popular and effective leader than his predecessor!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Leggett and Mr. Dyer are on the same page, in total agreement again! This time regarding the importance of corporate headquarters:

"Leggett said he was not willing to lose the company given the number of jobs and the prestige a global brand brings to the county"

Anonymous said...

"He is showing how effective Republican leadership can be."

How come he is not endorsing his party's candidate for President if Republican leadership is so hot?

Anonymous said...

If $44 million is really the final price tag, then this deal should be revenue positive for the state and the county over the long term.

Anonymous said...

"If $44 million is really the final price tag, then this deal should be revenue positive for the state and the county over the long term."

WaPo has updated it to $62M.

Anonymous said...

The Westin site (designed to replace the Bethesda Court) is an obvious choice. Marriott just bought Starwood, owner of Westin Hotels. This means Marriott already has a site well along in the zoning process.

Robert Dyer said...

3:54: Good point. I think it's going to have to be on Wisconsin Avenue for sure, because they want that high-visibility for their logo on top of the building. It's not going to be tucked away in a back corner of the Woodmont Triangle. So the Connor/Bethesda Court site would give them that, along with the Apex and Metro Center locations.

Anonymous said...

One less reason to build Dyer's Bridge To Nowhere.

Robert Dyer said...

7:31: How so? Because the MoCo cartel is dragging a very large deck chair from one end of the Titanic to the other? Marriott was already here. That's how weak our private sector economy is - we celebrate finding that our existing corporate headquarters are still there in the morning. Don't set the bar too high, fellas! Meanwhile, competing jurisdictions are adding new ones.

Run over and check if Lockheed has moved out or not. They're still here? YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!! What a day for Montgomery County!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LET'S PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!! WE'RE THE BEST!

Is the Discovery building still there? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We're going to run out of party favors!!!

Humiliating. Once again, the media enables the continued corruption and fraud known as the Montgomery County Council. They literally can't do it without them.

Anonymous said...

At $17,000 per job, why isn't this crony capitalism?

Anonymous said...

Remember when the idea was for people to work AND live in Bethesda?

Not like these 4,000 employees can afford to live close by.

Anonymous said...

10:36 AM stopped whining about "bedroom communities", at long last.

Anonymous said...

White Flint or Downtown Bethesda? It was an easy decision for Marriott.

Expect cut backs in hours of service at the White Flint Metro (as proposed by WMATA).

Anonymous said...

Hey 10:41 AM . I'm 10:36AM and Excuse me? That's my first comment in weeks.
STFU, you ignorant idiot. Wait until you know WTF you are talking about before embarrassing yourself in public..

Anonymous said...

and again, @$17,000/job, why isn't this crony capitalism? Seems like exactly the kind of thing that conservative, right-wing, Republican, Trump supporters (admittedly, an increasingly small group) should be opposing. Oh, but it was supported by a Republican governor. I guess that makes it something else? Robert?

Anonymous said...

and yet again, @$17,000/job, why isn't this crony capitalism? Seems like exactly the kind of thing that conservative, right-wing, Republican, Trump supporters (admittedly, an increasingly small group) should be opposing. Oh, but it was supported by a Republican governor. I guess that makes it something else? Robert?

Do you not have an answer for this?

Robert Dyer said...

7:48: While there is indeed rampant crony capitalism in our country, the reality is that we were over a barrel with the Marriott situation. Had we attracted more than zero Fortune 500 corporate headquarters over the last two decades, perhaps we wouldn't have had to be so generous to Marriott just to keep our final F500s from fleeing.

For me personally, incentives are not a bad thing on a case by case basis. The public has not been allowed to review an itemized summary of this deal, so I'm not able to give a verdict on whether it was a good one or not. In general, having a tower with the Marriott logo in downtown Bethesda, and 3500 employees with more proximate access to restaurants for lunch, will certainly pump more money into the downtown economy and help to fill more apartments and condos. I'm glad Leggett and others have for the first time acknowledged what I've been saying for years - the halo effect of a Fortune 500 is critical to grow the economy. Too bad we're just sliding an existing one downtown, but I'm still very excited about adding Marriott to the downtown skyline, and welcoming 3500 consumers ready to buy meals, retail products and services without further stressing our school system and public safety departments.

Robert Dyer said...

Of course, roads and parking for 3500 cars are going to have to be addressed...but there is at least a chance to come out in the black when it's an office development instead of residential.

Anonymous said...

How do you figure that bringing 3500 cars and commuters into downtown Bethesda does not strain public safety systems, not to mention transportation, parking and infrastructure? Why are 3500 people commuting into Bethesda for a few hours each day likely to spend more than an equal number of new residents? I have no real position on residential vs. commercial development. A limited amount of both are probably desirable. I just don't see the economics of your argument that commercial development is great and subsidizing it is OK, on a case by case basis, but that new residential development is always horrendous. And, why is it better for one party's elected representatives to make such case by case decisions than another's. Throwing people's hard-earned tax money to wealthy developers is still throwing people's hard-earned tax money to wealthy developers.

Robert Dyer said...

8:31: Workers don't fill seats in classrooms. Workers don't put the same strain on police and fire as residents and residential developments. Workers don't consume social services to the degree that residents do.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, but only if they don't live in the County and then they don't contribute as much to the economy and they still use roads, transportation, public safety, and other services.