DC Convention Hotel Opens

The Marriott Marquis hotel next to the Washington (D.C.) Convention Center has finally opened.reports Abha Bhattarai in the May 2 Washington Post.

Martin Morse Wooster adds: “You will recall that the DC in 2011 Worldcon bid collapsed in part because one of the hotels they used for the bid was ‘a hole in the ground.’ This was the hotel. It was still a hole in the ground in 2011.”

The hole is filled now with a very big hotel that the Post says cost $520 million.

The hotel — the District’s largest, at 1.1 million square feet — has been more than 20 years in the making. Then-Mayor Marion Barry first proposed the project in 1990. Since then, a number of contentious debates have added to the drama surrounding the hotel’s financing, development and construction. The economy added another hurdle when private financing options dried up in the wake of the recession. The District ultimately provided $206 million in public funding, or 40 percent of the hotel’s final cost, and ground was broken in late 2010.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster for the story.]

What a Future DC Worldcon Needs

Washington DC’s Walter E. Washington Convention Center opened in 2003 but not until November 2011 was ground broken on a 1,167-room Marriott Marquis across the street. Fans have long considered such a hotel the essential missing piece in any plan to return the Worldcon to Washington.

Two Worldcons have been held in Washington DC (1963, 1974). Two more bid committees tried to bring the convention back. An out-of-rotation bid for 1984 depended on a rules change that failed to pass. A bid for 1992 was forced to fold a few months before the vote after losing its first option on the Sheraton Washington.

In 2004 Michael Nelson publicly discussed the possibility of a DC bid for 2011, if the convention center hotel was built in time. Of course, it was not.

But remember – when it rains, it pours. The Washington Post ran an article last September reporting that developers would like to build two more Marriotts beside the one already going up by the convention center. However, the city has balked on giving them $35 million in subsidies they want for the project.

Yes, September. If this is not the freshest news, never forget File 770’s motto – “It’s always news to somebody.”

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster for the story.]