Early Briefing: A Hotel For Old Convention Site

* A developer announced plans yesterday to build a luxury hotel and high-end retail on prime downtown property where former mayor Anthony A. Williams had proposed constructing a new central public library.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, who supported the library when he was a member of the D.C. Council, said the hotel and retail stores are better suited for the vacant District-owned land, which once housed the city's convention center, between Ninth and 10th streets NW and New York Avenue and I Street. The city is leasing the land to the developer.

The hotel and retail, which a District official said will cost an estimated $150 million to build, will be part of a 10-acre site that District officials and the developer, Hines-Archstone, are promoting as a new downtown destination. The developer is building a mix of condominiums, offices, restaurants and shops, a half-acre park and a plaza on the remainder of the site.

* Intercell, an Austrian vaccine maker that works with Novartis and Merck, agreed to buy Iomai of Gaithersburg for $189 million. The Viennese firm will pay $6.60 for each Iomai share to expand its late-stage production pipeline, Intercell said.

* XM Satellite Radio, the District pay-radio company planning to combine with smaller competitor Sirius Satellite Radio, reported a wider first-quarter loss yesterday as it increased spending to attract more subscribers.

The net loss expanded to $129.3 million (42 cents a share), from $122.4 million (40 cents), a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Sales rose 17 percent, to $308.5 million, missing the $313.3 million average of 12 analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

*Sprint Nextel yesterday reported first-quarter losses of 1.1 million subscribers and more than half a billion dollars.

The good news, chief executive Daniel R. Hesse said, was that subscriber loss had slowed.

In addition, the company said it may sell some "non-core assets" to alleviate its financial burden. That prompted analysts to question whether a sale might include the Nextel business, as was widely rumored last week.

By Dan Beyers  |  May 13, 2008; 7:03 AM ET
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