Disney Nixes National Harbor Project

Walt Disney Co. bought 11 acres for $11 million in 2009

The Walt Disney Company announced Friday that it will not go forward with the construction of a planned 500-room resort hotel at National Harbor.

In a statement made to The Washington Post, Disney spokeswoman Kristen Nolt Wingard cited "the full slate of expansion currently underway at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts," adding "the timing isn't right to proceed with another new project of this scale." Earlier this year, the company opened an 840-room resort and spa on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Disney is also currently expanding its resort in Hong Kong, and has broken ground on another theme park in Shanghai.

Disney had purchased 11 acres of land at National Harbor for $11 million in May 2009. According to Jon Peterson, senior vice president of the Peterson Companies, which is the majority owner of National Harbor, that land "will be incorporated back into our long-term master plan for National Harbor.

"We were disappointed to learn that Walt Disney Parks & Resorts will not be moving forward with its plans for a resort hotel at National Harbor," Peterson said in a statement. "We've established a tremendous relationship with Disney over the years and have the utmost respect for the entire organization."

Later in his statement, Peterson touted the planned 2012 opening of a 388,000 square-foot Tanger Outlet Center and a 371-unit mixed-use apartment complex called the Esplanade. It is estimated that 85 percent of National Harbor's retail space will be occupied by the end of next year.

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker issued the following statement: "I am disappointed to hear this news, however National Harbor continues to be a premier destination for all to visit. My administration is committed to aggressively attracting and pursuing more quality development opportunities not only at National Harbor but throughout Prince George's County."

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