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From the Post's DC Wire blog: "City officials are close to finalizing a deal to build a new convention center hotel without having to secure an additional hundreds of millions of dollars in public financing, officials said today. Under the framework of the agreement, the city and the convention center authority will put up an additional $80 million. The city earlier had pledged $187 million for the project, which has languished due to tight credit markets. The rest of the money for the $537 million project will come from private sources. Frustrated that the hotel project had yet to break ground, convention center and D.C. Council members began exploring earlier this month whether the city could secure full public financing for the project. They argued the city was losing convention business to neighboring jurisdictions. But Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi, who was worried about the District breaching its debt limit, helped broker a deal in which Capstone Development will team with ING to secure private financing, sources said. The project is slated to be a 1,167 Marriott Marquis, which would be one of the city's largest hotels."
More here. Now to wait and see where that extra $80 million will come from...
UPDATE: WBJ reports on the near deal, which includes this: "The developers and key members of the D.C. Council began considering alternatives and Thursday said they had found one. In it, the Washington Convention Center Authority would contribute an $80 million loan -- a far smaller price tag than the mayor proposed -- and the developers would raise their equity participation from $135 million to $320 million with the backing of ING Clarion Real Estate Investment, the U.S. subsidiary of ING Real Estate and one of the city's largest property owners."
UPDATE II: The Examiner's story, with this morsel: "Evans, chairman of the Finance and Revenue Committee, said he hoped to forestall the 'hysteria' of people thinking their projects were being eliminated. No projects will be dropped, he said. 'We're heading in the completely opposite direction,' he said."
UPDATE III: And the Post's for-print-publication version of their article, with a slightly less snarky Evans quote: "In recent days, some community and political leaders became concerned when the Washington Business Journal published a story suggesting that some development projects would have to be scrapped so the hotel could be built without exceeding the city's debt limit. Evans said the prospect of full public financing appears to have motivated the developers into putting up the equity so they could gain more of the profits. 'It caused everyone to focus, step up and get it done,' said Evans, who added that he hopes the council will vote on the proposal next month so construction can begin in the fall."
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Mark_M says: (6/18/09 9:51 PM)
Does this now mean that the convention center hotel will now NOT be "taking" money from the Near SE projects as earlier thought?


Joe in DC says: (6/19/09 9:13 AM)
Mark that seems to be the case. Ahhhhh... now that is what I call a creative solution to a pesky financial problem. Lets be frank here, there was no "hysteria" as our esteemed council member Evans has been publicly quoted. Its called citizen action. Shocker!!! Who knew?

Had not the citizens of this city with a vested interest in the Near S.E/Navy Yard & the S.W. Waterfront put the council on notice that we were not going to quietly stand by while our interests were trampled on, the outcome may have been very different. The stakes are too high and the possibility that a dreadful outcome could have occurred is too real. Hysteria-schmeria! It is our right and our duty to stand up and have our voices heard. It is interesting how quickly the council and developers were able to come up with the necessary financing for the hotel once they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar. They wanted an easy and expeditious solution to building the new hotel and were willing to do it at our expense.

Folks, we may have other tricky issues ahead of us (hopefully not), but we must be willing to fight for the type of community we have been sold. The Near S.E/Navy Yard and neighboring S.W Waterfront is poised to be the envy of the city and I for one will do my part to ensure that it is. Thank you to all of you who got involved on this issue and most of all, thank you JD for your tireless efforts on behalf of the Near S.E.

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