Mayor Tours Convention Center Hotel Project

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray took a tour Monday of the new 1,175-bed Marriott Marquis Convention Center headquarters hotel that will be the largest hotel in the city.

It will help bring tens of thousands of new visitors to the nation's capital. Although it doesn't open until May 2014, the hotel already has more than 500,000 room nights booked, including 18 conventions never before held in Washington.

“We had 17.9 million people who came to D.C. last year,” Gray said. “That will increase by tens of thousands of people just by virtue of having a hotel that can accommodate groups that otherwise wouldn't come here for their conventions.”

The new hotel incorporates a historic brick building that sits across Ninth Street from the Convention Center. It was supposed to have been built 10 years ago when the center itself opened, but political wrangling and financing delayed the $500 million project.

The Hotel Association of Washington, which represents more than 95 hotels in the city, said the new hotel strengthens D.C.’s hand against regional and national competition.

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