Downtown Bethesda will get an AC Hotel, the buzzy hotel brand from Marriott International (NASDAQ: MAR), when StonebridgeCarras and its hotel partner, OTO Development, open a new mixed-use project at 7373 Wisconsin Ave. in 2021.
StonebridgeCarras expects to begin construction on the 500,000-square-foot development, which includes a 390,000-square-foot trophy office building, in 2019. The 219-room AC Hotel will be located on the corner of Wisconsin and Montgomery avenues, with the hotel’s ground-floor lounge spilling out onto a public plaza.
OTO Development is a hotel developer and manager that has worked with Stonebridge in the past. The two partnered on the Constitution Square development in NoMa that includes a Hilton Garden Inn. Buvermo Investments Inc., a Bethesda-based real estate investment firm, is also a partner on the Bethesda project.
“OTO understood our vision to create something people want, the integrated place where you can eat inside, eat outside, whatever you want,” said Doug Firstenberg, CEO of StonebridgeCarras. “We wanted that ground floor to really feel like a seamless place to be.”
The project is also pretty complicated: The office building and the hotel will be connected on the top floors, with larger floor plates that span the two buildings. The 17th floor will include some office but also a conference center and health club that is open to both hotel guests and office tenants. The hotel will also have a private, 2,000-square-foot outdoor deck on that level for its guests.
“AC was just the dead-on product for what we want, that Spanish-founded lifestyle brand,” said Firstenberg. The first AC opened in the D.C. area in National Harbor, and another, also from OTO Development, is planned for 19th Street NW in downtown D.C. Marriott partnered with Spanish hotelier Antonio Catalan on the brand in Spain before bringing it to the U.S. in 2014.
It will also dovetail nicely with the full-service flagship Marriott Hotel that will open a few blocks away in conjunction with Marriott’s new headquarters in downtown Bethesda. The 1.05 million-square-foot headquarters project, scheduled to deliver by 2022, includes a 230-room Marriott hotel just north of the Bethesda Metro station.