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PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MD-National Harbor–destined to be a mammoth revenue driver for Prince George’s County–moves closer toward realization now that the County Council has signed off on the sale of $160 million in bonds to help fund development of the $1-billion venture. The Peterson Cos. and Gaylord Entertainment are backing the bonds as the developers behind the seven-million-sf project, which will encompass a hotel and convention center, as well as retail space. Moody’s Investors Services recently upgraded the bonds from a rating of Aa3 to an Aa2–the county’s highest Moody’s bond rating ever–based on anticipated commercial and residential developments.

Designated as a resort, National Harbor will sprout up on a 300-acre parcel along the Potomac River, where one mile of the development will sit right on the waterfront. When construction wraps up in early 2008, if not before, the destination will feature a 1,500-room hotel with a 24,000-sf spa and health facility, a 400,000-sf convention center as well as upscale retail space at the Mainstreet and Waterfront sites.

“National Harbor will be the first and largest resort hotel and conference center on the east coast,” County executive Jack Johnson notes. As for revenue, National Harbor is expected to generate $750 million in tax revenue over the next three decades. Moreover, the Peterson Cos. has committed to organizing a community outreach program with the county that will yield a projected $3.5 million over a 10-year period for community improvement. It is estimated construction of National Harbor will begin later this year.

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