WASHINGTON — Bethesda’s Tastee Diner sits in what will soon be in the shadows of Marriott International’s new downtown Bethesda headquarters, and diner owner Gene Wilkes confirms Bernstein Cos., the developer behind the proposed $600 million Marriott headquarters has informally approached him about buying out his business.
And he’s listening.
“This Marriott deal is somewhat shocking, and we’ve got to make some serious decisions,” Wilkes told WTOP. “I don’t know what the future of Tastee Diner will be. We will consider any and all options. I’m not going to say no to anything at this time.”
Wilkes said he has also been approached by at least one other party interested in buying, but he said there have been no formal offers to date.
Wilkes also said he has received no direct offer from Marriott itself.
Wilkes is worried about how Marriott will change the neighborhood.
“We will be competing for only on-street parking and that’s tough today,” he said. “We lose the benefit of the No. 11 garage directly across from Woodmont Grill. It will be something tough to deal with.”
Marriott’s development deal with Montgomery County includes the daytime use of the No. 11 garage (or Woodmont Corner Garage) though it would be open to public parking evenings and on weekends.
Relocating the diner is a possibility. The Silver Spring Tastee Diner was relocated in 2000 to make room for Discovery Communications headquarters. Just staying put is also a possibility.
The Bethesda Tastee Diner has been at 7731 Woodmont Ave. since 1958. Wilkes has owned the diner since 1971.
Wilkes has a little time to consider. Construction on Marriott’s new headquarters is still a couple of years away, and the company won’t make the move to its new headquarters until its lease at its current Fernwood Road campus expires in 2022.
The new Marriott corporate headquarters will include a 22-story office tower and a Marriott-branded hotel.
The campus will be developed by a joint venture with Bernstein and Boston Properties.