University voices hotel construction concerns

A number of community members and University officials have reached out to the development team responsible for construction on a new Marriott hotel on the Foggy Bottom Campus, urging the company to be respectful of neighborhood noise levels and pedestrians near the construction zone.

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said several individuals and University offices have contacted the Marriott developers – who plan to convert a six-story Colonial Parking garage at 515 20th St. into a Courtyard by Marriott – in an effort to ensure the company is mindful of community needs while the construction is taking place.

Initial demolition of the site is set to begin within the next few weeks.

“We have shared with them the special challenges they will confront with this site – particularly regarding pedestrian traffic on and near the site as well as the need to be sensitive to intense academic periods such as during end-of-semester finals,” Sherrard said in an e-mail.

Though the land is situated between the 1959 E Street residence hall, Old Main and Thurston Hall, the project is neither funded by GW nor being built on land owned by the University. Therefore, it will be completely up to the developer and the project team to decide upon hours of construction.

D.C. law permits construction to occur between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Students interviewed, however, said they hope the Marriott crew will heed the recommendations given by the University, so as to not disturb students sleeping or studying in the area.

“I don’t want it to be loud when I have to wake up or study,” said freshman Maggie Rogers, a Thurston resident.

Some students were both concerned about the noise and the fact that the hotel might detract from the campus feel of the area.

“It’ll be disruptive when I want to get work done. I feel like if they are going to build something over here it should be for the school, too,” said freshman Gabby Tolchin, another Thurston resident.

Others who simply have class in the area don’t see the construction as being too much of an issue.

“The [Elliott School] building is so big and insulated that I don’t think it will be a problem,” said sophomore Jackson Henson.

Mike Tyler of MJ Tyler and Associates LLC, who represents the developers of the hotel, did not return a request for comment on what times the construction crew plans to work during the day.

Sherrard said she encourages the community to stay informed by visiting neighborhood.gwu.edu/cd for updates regarding the construction.

“Although this is not a University project, we will share contact information for the Marriott project on [the website] as well as any other updates provided to us by the project team,” Sherrard said, adding that the point of contact on the website should be used if anybody in the area has “questions and concerns about this project as it proceeds,” as well as if “work is occurring outside the legally permitted time frame,” or “during periods of significant noise activities.”

Developer Allstate Hotel LLC said it hopes to have the Marriott Courtyard hotel completed by April 2012. Tyler said previously the hotel will feature more than 150 guest suites.

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