Developer Says Marriott Headquarters Likely Will Be Smaller Than Requested Height

A developer for Marriott International’s new headquarters in downtown Bethesda probably won’t need all 300 feet of the building height they’ve requested, a project representative said Monday night.

Greg Rooney of Bernstein Cos. said the current design is a 21-story, 289-foot office tower, even though developers asked for permission to build up to 22 stories. Rooney reviewed plans for the headquarters and next-door flagship Marriott hotel during an evening meeting with members of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board.

He explained that his company and Boston Properties are partners in the development, and Marriott will manage the two buildings once they’re completed.

Advisory board members paid particular attention to the plaza that will separate the two buildings and connect Woodmont and Wisconsin avenues. Board member Katya Marin said the project plans gave the impression that restaurant seating and other private activities will dominate much of the open space.

Rooney said the plaza, which is about 75 feet at its widest and 40 feet at its narrowest, will be open to anyone and contain seating and gathering spaces. Marriott hasn’t fleshed out its plans, but he said the company might host public events or bring street food carts into the landscaped area.

“We’ve tried to make it as gracious as possible,” he said of the plaza design.

He told the advisory board that the office building won’t have any ground-floor retail, although Marriott plans a dynamic, glass-enclosed work space on the first floor that will give passersby a sense of energy.

The roughly 238-room hotel will benefit the community with a restaurant that will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and be open to the public. He said Marriott will run the restaurant rather than bringing in an outside brand.

He also noted that there will be an onsite bike-sharing station and that Marriott wants at least half of its 3,500 employees to bike, walk, take the Metro or use other commuting options that don’t involve driving.

Project partners expect to take their proposal to the Montgomery County Planning Board this year and start construction the second half of 2018. The hotel is scheduled to open in late 2021 and the headquarters is slated for completion the following summer.

 

As featured in Bethesda Magazine

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