Century-old hotel to feature modern rooms, higher rates

Media Credit: Corey Zagone | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The Allen Lee Hotel will undergo a multimillion dollar renovation this winter, transforming the worn-down building into a boutique hotel catering toward GW parents.

Foggy Bottom’s oldest hotel will shut down this winter to make way for a multimillion-dollar renovation project, gutting the building’s maze-like hallways and more than doubling its rates.

Abdo Development, a local construction firm, plans to start renovating the Allen Lee Hotel in January, more than a year after it first announced plans to modernize the deteriorating building on 23rd and F streets. The overhaul, featuring tightly configured guest rooms that resemble some New York City hotels, will raise rates from $60 to $150 a night.

President and CEO Jim Abdo said at a neighborhood meeting Wednesday that the year-long project, already approved by the city’s historic preservation staff, would focus on a pod-style rooms with enough space for one queen-sized bed or bunk beds.

The five-floor hotel will now include bathrooms in each room, as well as a pizza restaurant and a patio on the ground level.

“These are not big, elegant rooms, but they are going to be clean, state-of-the-art and they are going to be affordable. They are small, but with conditions over and above what you see now at the Allen Lee Hotel today,” Abdo said.

Abdo said the redesigned hotel, located next to the Newman Center and across from the Smith Center, would be more marketable to GW parents.

“If you look at universities all over the country, having a cool boutique hotel at your campus door is a great amenity to have,” Abdo added.

Abdo said his company plans to make the hotel, which will bear a new name for the first time since the 1930s, a business that “everyone in Foggy Bottom can be proud of.”

The hotel has sat in Foggy Bottom for more than a century, but in recent decades has been called an eyesore in a neighborhood filled with buildings bought and spruced up by GW.

Abdo stressed to residents that crews were not planning to “tear a lot down,” keeping sidewalks open and noise to a minimum.

“What we want is be be good neighbors and do right by this beautiful building,” he said.

Abdo Development, which has restored historic buildings across the District, purchased the century-old hotel seven years ago for $3.6 million and is now choosing a company to manage it.

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