Friday, August 11, 2017

Marriott "excited" about new downtown Bethesda HQ and hotel (Photos)

Woodmont Grill scuttles plan
to acquire Tastee Diner corner
for project

Marriott Corporation and landowner Bernstein Companies are moving quickly to develop the new Marriott headquarters and hotel in downtown Bethesda, with groundbreaking now expected to take place in the third quarter of 2018. "We're excited to locate our new headquarters and flagship hotel in downtown Bethesda," Jim Young of Marriott said at a community meeting last night. Among the breaking news was that the reported agreement with Tastee Diner to sell their corner property to Bernstein now cannot be realized, because they were unable to also obtain the Woodmont Grill property. "The train has left the station," a Bernstein representative said of the potential assembly of that corner of the block.

Woodmont Grill can stay, but they will lose their private parking lot to the Marriott project, as the lot is also owned by Bernstein, which has owned 7750 Wisconsin Avenue for about 40 years. Boston Properties is now a co-owner of the property. The design will include a public plaza and cross-block pedestrian connection between Wisconsin and Woodmont Avenue. Architecture firm Gensler said the project is a great opportunity to create a "set piece of urban design."
Site plan
The renderings shown last night are works in progress, not the final design. What is known, is that the 21-story, L-shaped office building will be mostly glass and metal, with 18 floors atop a 3-floor podium. The 238-room hotel will be 12 stories, and both buildings are expected to earn LEED Gold certification.
Aerial view of plaza
Marriott wants to plant a large specimen tree on the plaza, to further represent the firm's commitment to the environment. To ensure the plaza is activated around the clock, the hotel bar and headquarters will both open to the plaza. The hotel restaurant will also be on the ground floor, and there will be suspended light fixtures above the plaza.
Plaza looking east
In a time of highly-controversial sidewalk closures, Marriott is promising to keep a covered walkway along Wisconsin Avenue throughout the construction process. The hotel is expected to deliver in October 2021, with the Marriott headquarters building following in July 2022.
View from Woodmont Avenue
at Cordell Avenue
Another controversial issue is parking. Marriott has signed a 10-year, $2 million-per-year agreement with Montgomery County to have full use of the Woodmont Corner garage across Woodmont from the Marriott site during business hours. Marriott said this is a transitional plan; they believe their workers will switch to transit over the next decade, and may not extend the garage agreement if that happens.
View from Bethesda Metro
That didn't convince some attendees last night, who said Marriott needs to communicate directly with businesses in that area about the loss of parking. The garage is often packed during business hours, and currently, 2500 of Marriott's 3300 employees drive and park at their existing headquarters north of downtown Bethesda in Rock Spring.
View from Norfolk Avenue
Other concerns expressed included traffic impacts and the lack of ground floor retail in the project, which one attendee said was a lost opportunity. One other problem with the failure to assemble the Tastee and Woodmont Grill properties: the new, wider sidewalks around the future Marriott project will end on both sides of the corner at the old, narrower sidewalks in front of those restaurants.
Green roof plan
On the positive side, Marriott promised a high bar of quality for the hotel and restaurant, noting that the CEO of the company will literally be looking down on them from the next building. The third floor of the hotel will be used as an "innovation lab" to test new concepts, designs and furniture for all of Marriott's hotel brands. There will be 100 bike storage units and lockers for Marriott employees in the headquarters building, and an 8000 SF meeting space in the hotel.
Plaza view
Young of Marriott said the company is delighted to be able to remain in Bethesda after 60 years here. He said the company will have a 20-year lease on the property, with rights for 20 more after that.

Attorney Bob Dalrymple said a concept plan for the project was filed for technical comments, and for a head start on design. He said Marriott and its partners intend to file the sketch, preliminary, and site plans together soon, and be before the Planning Board with all of those by the end of 2017.  Last night was a required pre-submission meeting for those plans.

Dalrymple said he expects a hearing before the Planning Board in mid-December, and to have approvals by the end of the year.
View from Veterans Park
View from Lionsgate condos
Illustrative site plan
Stormwater management plan

Properties assembled for the
Marriott project outlined in red

75 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Among the breaking news was that the reported agreement with Tastee Diner to sell their corner property to Bernstein now cannot be realized, because there was never any agreement in the first place."

FTFY

Robert Dyer said...

7:32: Wrong. It was confirmed last night that, as I predicted, Marriott had no use for the Tastee property with Woodmont Grill refusing to sell. It wasn't Tastee that botched it, it was Woodmont Grill.

Anonymous said...

Woodmont is foolish. They could have moved somewhere else and still succeeded. Their customers would have followed. Now they lose their nice lot and will be squeezed by Marriott and may ultimately fail there. Tastee should have sold when they were first contacted. They still have a very valuable corner that of course they own. Gene will still be able to cash in but maybe not for as much as the Marriott project was willing to pay.

Anonymous said...

Woodmont is foolish. They could have moved somewhere else and still succeeded. Their customers would have followed. Now they lose their nice lot and will be squeezed by Marriott and may ultimately fail there. Tastee should have sold when they were first contacted. They still have a very valuable corner that of course they own. Gene will still be able to cash in but maybe not for as much as the Marriott project was willing to pay.

Anonymous said...

lol, I love how Dyer is still desperately trying to save face re: his botched Tastee reporting. It's fun watching him squirm, especially since (as has repeatedly happened) Bethesda Mag was the one to point out Dyer was making shit up.

Anonymous said...

"It wasn't Tastee that botched it, it was Woodmont Grill."

LOL no, it was YOU that "botched it", Dyer.

Maloney Concrete said...

Pretty much confirms what Dyer has been reporting.

I'm looking forward to having Marriott downtown.

Anonymous said...

Maloney Concrete said...

"Pretty much confirms what Dyer has been reporting."

Ha ha ha bullshit. It confirms that Dyer was 100% wrong, just as he was wrong about Kaldi's.

Baaaaa

Baaaaa

Booey!

Anonymous said...

Woodmont Grill was the linchpin here.
Dyer has reporting on that. Aligns perfect with what Dyer has been reporting.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:42 AM - Why didn't you respond as "Maloney Concrete"?

Anonymous said...

Wasn't his woodmont Grill contingency stated afterwards as a backpedal?

Anonymous said...

10:31am how is stating a fact a "back pedal". Dyer's reporting was confirmed last night.

Anonymous said...

He reported the done deal with Tastee. Then later when he was called out on it he said of course it is contingent on Woodmont.

That's a backpedal.

Anonymous said...

Agreed.

Robert Dyer said...

8:43: Six months later, you still know nothing about bigtime real estate deals and how they work. Sale of Tastee, from the beginning, was contingent on sale of Woodmont Grill. That's why no party is going to announce they have a dea in advance. My reporting and sources were 100% correct, as verified and vindicated at last night's meeting.

Anonymous said...

Here is the entire text of Robert Dyer's article of April 24, linked above. It makes no mention at all of any contingency relating to Woodmont Grill.

"A source tells me the owner of Tastee Diner has agreed to sell the venerable restaurant's property, to make way for a larger Marriott headquarters and hotel to be built on that block in downtown Bethesda. After several months of negotiations with the Marriott site property owner, Tastee Diner has reportedly agreed to sell for $7 million. That is $2 million more than the offer they received in February."

"Whether the diner would move to a new location, remains to be determined. If the deal goes through, Montgomery County officials should insist that a Hot Shoppes restaurant be included in the future hotel to balance out the nostalgia factor."

"The Marriott headquarters project is a partnership between the hotel giant, property owner Bernstein Companies and Boston Properties. It is expected to deliver in 2022. Tastee Diner is located at 7731 Woodmont Avenue, a corner of the same block as the Marriott site, which is addressed as 7750 Wisconsin Avenue."

DianeQ Tillery said...

Why didn't Marriott include building a Woodmont Grill/Houstons in the new hotel lobby? Win-Win

Anonymous said...

Dyer's report of tastee selling is to 40,000 zombies voting for Hans. Both wrong.

Anonymous said...

5:08 - Why would it be "win-win"? Houston's is kinda moribund - this location is the only one left in the region. The locations in Rockville and Georgetown closed in 2009 and 2001. There is only one left north of Atlanta, in Hackensack, NJ.

Doesn't exactly give them a strong negotiating position with Marriott, contrary to Dyer's fantasy.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. Sure there may have been some sort of deal or other, but Robert presented it as a done deal. And then when pressed on it he back pedaled by saying of course it is dependent on a Woodmont Grill sale.

Anonymous said...

Hillstone is pretty big and there are three thriving Houston's in ATL alone which is where they started. There's one in New Orleans, several in Texas and a few in LA area if not other cities. I don't like the one here anymore because it's ridiculously expensive for what it is. They made a mistake and should have asked for a land swap. They don't own the land I just mean ask to be moved to another Bernstein property.

Anonymous said...

Give it up Dyer. Your rumors were 100% wrong. Tastee's owner said so, Marriott said so, other news outlets said so. There was never any purchase contract or any other "deal" to cancel.

Can you admit for once that you were wrong like a normal person?

Anonymous said...

Looks like there are a total of 16 Houston's locations. All but one are in the Sunbelt. And Hackensack, New Jersey, LOL.

http://www.houstons.com/locations/

Going the way of Bennigan's, Chi-Chi's, El Torito, and Lum's.

Robert Dyer said...

5:40: Are you saying Tastee and Bernstein would have signed a deal that WASN'T "dependent on a Woodmont Grill sale?" If so, you know nothing about real estate.

5:50: Give it up, old sport. There is never a signed "purchase contract" on a deal like this. Do you think Bernstein would be stupid enough to fully close on a Tastee purchase before they knew whether Woodmont Grill would sell or not?

You're still bitter months later that I had the exclusive scoop on the Tastee negotiations, which launched a 1000 plagiarized copycat reports in the small and slightly-failing magazine and even the Washington Post.

3:25: "Agreed" is just that - an agreement to sell if the other contingencies go through. My article was 100% correct, as verified at last night's meeting.

Anonymous said...

#DodgingDyer has been busy tonight deleting posts that he disagrees with or prove him wrong.

Boyce Bowles said...

To be clear, Marriott spox confirmed Dyer's reporting at public meeting last night.

To those that thrive off posting negativity about Robert Dyer (including Steve's staff), I'm afraid you'll have to find another hill to fight on.

Anonymous said...

All parties involved directly and unequivocally said no deal with Tastee was in place and no price was discussed, much less agreed to. Stop being a moron, Bobby. You're not fooling anyone.

Anonymous said...

We aren't saying Dyer's report was terribly wrong, just that he insisted it was a done deal and then back pedaled by saying of course it is contingent on Woodmont Grill also.

Robert Dyer said...

4:17: It was a done deal but it couldn't be executed without the Woodmont Grill site. That was the case all along, and anyone who knows about real estate is laughing at you right now.

8:42: You're the moron who doesn't understand big real estate deals. Leave it to people like me who have been reporting on them for a decade. Price was discussed, and agreement reportedly reached at $7 million according to my source. The deal could never be "in place" unless Woodmont Grill sold and the County approved the Marriott site plan.

7:53: Nope, just ones with insults and defamatory statements, old sport.

Anonymous said...

Don't ever believe anything you hear from that "source" again, Robert. You got burned. Badly.

Robert Dyer said...

4:45: How was I "burned?" My report was confirmed by Marriott's representatives Thursday night! My source was correct, and so was my story.

Anonymous said...

Your report was confirmed to be false.

Robert Dyer said...

5:10: Everyone who was actually at the Marriott meeting is laughing at you right now. My report was confirmed at the meeting.

Anonymous said...

Here is what you reported:

"A source tells me the owner of Tastee Diner has agreed to sell the venerable restaurant's property, to make way for a larger Marriott headquarters and hotel to be built on that block in downtown Bethesda. After several months of negotiations with the Marriott site property owner, Tastee Diner has reportedly agreed to sell for $7 million."

That was shown to be false, at the meeting.

Anonymous said...

I heard from my own sources that what was actually said, was that "Tastee Diner is not included in the development plan". How does that "confirm" your report of April 24?

Anonymous said...

Again robert you totally miss the point. Many of us could care less the details of the transaction. Simply have issue with the way you say things. On many different topics it doesn't matter the issue at hand. You always argue the issue. The argument against you is against your logic. Not necessarily the issue.

Boyce Bowles said...

To be clear, at Thursday nights public meeting, it was stated that Woodmont Grill wouldn't sell and that made the plan to buy Tastee Diner a no go since they needed both properties together.

This aligns perfect with Robert Dyer's reporting.

Anonymous said...

"This aligns perfect with Robert Dyer's reporting."

If by "aligns perfect" you mean "does not align at all."

Simple question: If the Tastee deal was dependent on Woodmont selling, then why wasn't that mentioned in the April 24 post?

Anonymous said...

Also, none of the presenters said that any deals for Tastee or Woodmont were contingent on each other. They just said that the two sites were not included in the Marriott project.

Anonymous said...

Saith Dyer:

"Among the breaking news was that the reported agreement with Tastee Diner to sell their corner property to Bernstein now cannot be realized, because they were unable to also obtain the Woodmont Grill property. "The train has left the station," a Bernstein representative said of the potential assembly of that corner of the block."

I note that you have no direct quote that supports your claim.

Boyce Bowles said...

8:04am Yes, they did. It was stated Woodmont Grill would not sell and buying Tastee Diner alone would serve no purpose.

Exactly what Robert Dyer's reporting indicated.

Anonymous said...

9:05 AM - But Dyer's article of March 24 reported that they had already agreed to buy Tastee.

The presentation on Thursday night reported that there was no deal. You can't reconcile these two points.

Boyce Bowles said...

12:54 PM No one at the meeting said there was never a deal to buy the Tastee. They said Woodmont Grill not selling was what stopped them from acquiring both of those properties. Any deal to buy the Tastee Diner would have been contingent on acquiring Woodmont as well. They said Tastee alone wasn't enough.

This is exactly what Robert Dyer has had reporting on for months.

Anonymous said...

But Dyer on March 24 did not say there were any contingencies. He reported that "Tastee has reportedly agreed to sell for $7 million". Full stop.

Anonymous said...

"There is never a signed "purchase contract" on a deal like this."

Hahaha. I don't know who is telling you these things. You yourself stated that a conveyance agreement was in place.

"Do you think Bernstein would be stupid enough to fully close on a Tastee purchase before they knew whether Woodmont Grill would sell or not?"

Lol I know exactly what Bernstein/BXP did and they acted perfectly rationally. You on the other hand have made plenty of illogical and contradictory statements, or are deliberately spreading misinformation.

"You're still bitter months later that I had the exclusive scoop on the Tastee negotiations, which launched a 1000 plagiarized copycat reports in the small and slightly-failing magazine and even the Washington Post."

Lol you're absolutely right. My employers and I are very upset that Robert Dyer got the best of us again.

Anonymous said...

It takes a special kind of idiot to defend Robert Dyer's lies.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, Kaldi's is still open. LOL

Boyce Bowles said...

A lot of misinformation about Tastee coming from other sites, not Dyer.

Anonymous said...

The height of that building is a horror

Robert Dyer said...

3:00/3:21: You clearly have a compulsive disorder that requires you to just keep repeating the same thing over and over. Back in the real world, only morons believe the Tastee agreement wasn't contingent on the other pieces being assembled and/or approved.

4:21: Kaldi's themselves posted online saying they were closing their doors and hosting a "complete liquidation" auction. LOL, indeed.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of compulsive desire, how many times have you repeated over and over "moribund" and other rants? How is that different again?

Anonymous said...

No moron disagrees that the Tastee sale probably was contingent, but the point again that you keep missing is that you did not say that in your first report, only later.

Anonymous said...

"3:00/3:21: You clearly have a compulsive disorder that requires you to just keep repeating the same thing over and over. Back in the real world, only morons believe the Tastee agreement wasn't contingent on the other pieces being assembled and/or approved."

I'm 3:22, not 3:00. Many others are pointing out the ridiculous claims being made on this site re:the Marriott project.

Everyone is in agreement that any offer or contract would be contingent on an assemblage with Woodmont Grill, as well as securing the necessary entitlements, but you don't seem to get it: There was NO AGREEMENT in the first place.

Anonymous said...

*3:21

Andy Van Slyke said...

Reports from Thursday nights meeting say Marriott confirmed Dyer's reporting at the public meeting. Woodmont Grill wouldn't sell.

Robert Dyer said...

10:50: No "ridiculous claims" have been made here. In fact, this website is the only one that was on top of the (potential) real estate deal of the century throughout the negotiations. Many others, including the Washington Post, were reduced to having to plagiarize, react, and follow up on my blow-by-blow reports on the inside baseball. That's what happens when you have real sources, not just a Marriott or Bernstein press release. There was an agreement, but it was irrelevant ultimately as Woodmont Grill declined to sell. That's why people turn to my site for the inside scoop.

Anonymous said...

"This website is the only one that was on top of the (potential) real estate deal of the century throughout the negotiations."

You are an insane megalomaniac, Dyer.

Go out, get a real job, and get some genuine accomplishments to your name.

Anonymous said...

@ 5:18 PM - Agreed.

Anonymous said...

I concur.

Anonymous said...

"Many others, including the Washington Post, were reduced to having to plagiarize were reduced to having to plagiarize, react, and follow up on my blow-by-blow reports on the inside baseball"

I really hope this is just talk and that you don't actually believe this.

Robert Dyer said...

7:03: There isn't a single article on the Tastee-Marriott-Bernstein negotiations since February that wasn't based on scoops from my website. This is a verifiable fact. Unfortunately, I was either insufficiently cited, or (most often) not cited at all as the source. The Post cited Bethesda Magazine for reporting that actually was exclusive to my site, then cited the specific $7 million amount that was ONLY reported by me.

Apparently, with all of their financial resources, they had no sources inside the negotiations. I did. Definitely not "just talk." Just journalism.

Robert Dyer said...

5:18: The only megalomaniacs I know of is the County Council, which believed it needed Presidential-level security, and locked the public out of its building.

Anonymous said...

"The Post cited Bethesda Magazine for reporting that actually was exclusive to my site, then cited the specific $7 million amount that was ONLY reported by me."

Did you contact the Post to complain about that?

Tim said...

Journalists, like Dyer, are understandably protective when another writer steals/plagiarizes his or her work without attribution.

It's not hard to source folks. It doesn't make you any less of a writer to properly source Dyer.

Anonymous said...

Nor does it make an author less of a person to admit being wrong.

Anonymous said...

"I am the source of record", only one getting things done, things being taken care of because of me, etc. megalomaniac indeed.

Robert Dyer said...

7:13: And I just "got things done" again - the illegal closure of Leland Street I exposed is being reopened.

Anonymous said...

Actually the county council got it done. Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest the overwhelming emails and phone calls had something to do with it. Like when I said "I'm calling about Leland street" and the reply was "you and everyone else." :)

Anonymous said...

Dyer, do you really think that no one noticed it until you "exposed" it?

Robert Dyer said...

12:48: They noticed it, but until reading my report, they didn't know it had been done without the required public process.

4:07: Nope. I exposed the illegal action, and then the Council realized the public outrage was too great, then tried to make it seem they had nothing to do with the closure.

Anonymous said...

It had nothing to do with you. People hated it and complained. A lot of them. Loudly. All-Caps. All. day. long.

Robert Dyer said...

6:26: Yeah, kind of like how the big hole in the garage wall I wrote about was patched up quickly after I wrote about it...just coincidentally. Right.

Anonymous said...

Um. A hole was there and they fixed it. That you wrote about it was not the reason they fixed it.

Anonymous said...

Nope. You can see in the 311 logs that someone else had reported it before you posted about it.

Indisputable FACT. The End.