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Deal Near on Convention Center Hotel

City officials are close to finalizing a deal to build a new convention center hotel without having to secure an additional hundreds of millions of dollars in public financing, officials said today.

Under the framework of the agreement, the city and the convention center authority will put up an additional $80 million. The city earlier had pledged $187 million for the project, which has languished due to tight credit markets.

The rest of the money for the $537 million project will come from private sources.

Frustrated that the hotel project had yet to break ground, convention center and D.C. Council members began exploring earlier this month whether the city could secure full public financing for the project. They argued the city was losing convention business to neighboring jurisdictions.

But Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi, who was worried about the District breaching its debt limit, helped broker a deal in which Quadrangle Development Corp. and Capstone Development will team with ING to secure private financing, sources said. The project is slated to be a 1,167 Marriott Marquis, which would be one of the city's largest hotels.

Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), chairman of the Finance and Revenue Committee, said he was satisfied with the proposal. Evans hopes the Council will approve the plan sometime next month so construction can begin in the fall.

"It doesn't require the large subsidy from the city that a total public deal would require and it keeps us under the cap," Evans said.

--Tim Craig

By Tim Craig  |  June 18, 2009; 3:57 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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