GW bids on hotel property

GW placed a bid to purchase One Washington Circle Hotel last month, but University officials said negotiations have been delayed by the building’s owner.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts, one of the largest hotel groups in the world, owns the One Washington Circle property, but has not decided whether to sell, a spokeswoman for the company said.

K.C. Kavanagh, a Starwood spokeswoman, said the hotel chain is undecided about its plans for the hotel. Starwood owns the Sheraton, Weston, St. Regis, Four Points and Luxury Collection hotel chains, according to its Web site.

The hotel, located on Washington Circle at 23rd Street and Pennsylvania Avenue across the circle from the GW Hospital, lies beyond GW’s official campus boundary on Pennsylvania Avenue.

GW’s current campus plan includes neither the location of The Aston nor the One Washington Circle Hotel.

Other possible bidders for the property include the Millennium Group, a hotel and gaming conglomerate based in New York, Kavanagh said.

Millennium Group officials were unable to be reached for comment.

While Kavanagh confirmed the University made a bid, she would not disclose the amount GW offered for the property.

Linda Schujter, general counsel for the University, said there is no signed agreement of sale between the University and Starwood.

Through the years, we have had various conversations with the owners, but nothing is definite, she said.

Two weeks ago, Starwood sent a letter of response to the University’s bid that suggested negotiations may continue, Kavanagh said.

Michael Thomas, president of the Foggy Bottom Association, said he is not surprised GW plans to buy more property in Foggy Bottom.

President Trachtenberg told me that there was a University need for housing, he said.

Zoning regulations restrict growth of major facilities in residential areas of D.C. and have limited University growth. But the University has been able to work around and change zoning laws to fit its campus plans, Thomas said.

They use permits that are publicly unknown, Thomas said.

If the University bought the One Washington Circle Hotel, the property would be used for investment purposes and not to house students, Schujter said.

The University defines investment property as noon-academic property that turns a profit for the University, similar to 2000 Pennsylvania Ave., Shujter said. This property also remains on the tax roll, unlike academic University property, which is not taxed.

We are working on what the best plan for the One Washington Circle property, Kavanagh said. We may sell or decide to fly one of our brand flags.

-Sarah Lechner contributed to this report.

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