As a sign of the amicable relationship between elected officials and one of the state’s largest corporations, Gov. Larry Hogan and County Executive Ike Leggett joined in for a groundbreaking ceremony of Marriott International’s new headquarters in Downtown Bethesda last Thursday.
The ceremony served as a victory for state and local officials, who agreed to a combined $33 million in subsidies to the global hotel chain in order to keep them based in the County. On June 21, elected leaders and representatives from Marriott said the day was about honoring Marriott’s longtime commitment to Bethesda.
“Now, Marriott’s footprint in Maryland grows even larger with the groundbreaking of the brand-new corporate headquarters and flagship hotel,” Hogan said in a statement. “Today, we are seeing proof, and a shining example, of the incredible progress we are making in the state of Maryland – we are truly open for business like never before.”
While Marriott’s current headquarters are located on Fernwood Road in Bethesda, its current suburban location has become unappealing for employees and a new location near shops and restaurants in a downtown space was desired by executives, spokespeople for the company said.
In 2016, after considering moving its headquarters out of state, Marriott announced it would remain in Bethesda, choosing a location near the intersection of Norfolk and Wisconsin Avenues.
“Montgomery County has been our home for more than 60 years, and we take immense pride in this community and in the strong relationships we’ve developed here,” said J.W. Marriott, Jr. in a statement. “From our humble roots as a nine-stool root beer stand in downtown Washington, D.C. to a hospitality company known around the world, we look forward to many more years together as we create a new 21st -century home in downtown Bethesda.”
Money for the project would come from the recently-passed recordation tax premium and would be designated for planning, infrastructure design and construction costs for Marriott’s newly-proposed $600 million headquarters in downtown Bethesda, according to County Executive Ike Leggett. In total, the County will contribute $11 million in subsidies for the project, while the state has promised $22 million for Marriott.
In exchange for the subsidies to keep Marriott in the County, the roughly 3,500 employees who work at Marriott’s corporate headquarters will remain in Bethesda. As part of the County’s development goals, the new 785,000 square-foot headquarters will be located in downtown Bethesda, near the Metro and with access to a variety of shops and restaurants. The new headquarters will include a 244-room hotel, with meeting space and a restaurant.