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While the hotel industry across the nation is suffering from a glut of rooms, developers can’t put up enough in fast-growing Loudoun County. “We think there’s a desperate need for them,” said Lammot Du Pont, partner with Du Pont-Fabros Development. The company has deals lined up to build a 150-room Embassy Suites hotel and a 90-room Homewood Inn on its 118-acre property on Waxpool Road, called the Ashburn Corporate Center.

Developers are laying plans or breaking ground to build hotels on at least six other sites in eastern Loudoun County, the second-fastest growing county in the nation. The surge in hotel development plans reflects how this segment has been neglected in the rush to build offices in this fast-growing area.

Ashburn Corporate Center is across the street from two of the massive office complexes that is attracting so much development to the area. The presence of America Online’s headquarters and a huge MCI/WorldCom campus create a desirable communications node, wired by all the major fiber-optic Internet backbone carriers. The area has attracted several other companies that want to plug into either of these companies or tap into the fiber-optic cable and work force that is springing up around it. Combined with the presence of Washington Dulles International Airport, the nation’s fastest growing airport, office space has been filling quickly.

That has created a lucrative business for area hotels. The average occupancy rate last year was 79% for eastern Loudoun hotels, compared with 71% nationwide, says one development official. Developers have been trying to catch up with this. The hotel supply has doubled to 950 rooms over the past 18 months.

But even hotel operators and developers may be underestimating the future demand. “It’s a hot area,” said Tom Abbonizio, who represents Lerner’s Dulles Town Center project, which includes plans for a hotel one to two years from now. “I have received several calls from hotels wanting to move in. Most aren’t even aware that Air and Space Museum is going to start construction this October, and that will be huge.” On the south side of the airport, it expects 5 million visitors in the first year it will be open.

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