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PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MD-The ground has broken on National Harbor, a behemoth endeavor that will encompass seven million sf of mixed-use offerings along the Potomac River near Oxon Hill and Fort Washington, MD.

The Peterson Cos. and Gaylord Entertainment Co. are developing the 220-acre project, which has been helped along considerably by $360 million in various forms of assistance from the State of Maryland and Prince George’s County. Assorted plans for developing the sprawling parcel of land has been in the works for more than a decade.

The first segment of National Harbor to get under way is the Gaylord Hotel & Convention Center at National Harbor, a waterfront complex that will feature 1,500 upscale guestrooms among three hotels, 400,000 sf of exhibition and meeting space, 150,000 sf of retail and dining space, 20,000-sf spa and fitness facility and 150,000 sf of retail and dining space. To be situated on 41 acres within the greater National Harbor bounds, the development within a development will cost approximately $565 million to complete and will be the largest hotel and convention center facility in the greater Washington, DC region. Gaylord National also carries the distinction of being the largest hotel project outside Las Vegas to break ground in the US in 2004.

The hotel and convention center portion of National Harbor, scheduled to debut in March 2008, is just the beginning. The site will ultimately include over one million sf of office space, an additional 350,000 sf of retail space and a 2,500-seat theater.

“It will create thousands of jobs and spur enormous economic activity, building our tax base through job creation and business investment,” Prince George’s County executive Jack B. Johnson says of National Harbor. “It will drive the local economy with construction, retail, service, professional, landscaping and countless other related job opportunities.”

County officials estimate the development will generate about $750 million in revenue over a 30-year period. The National Harbor project is on target to be fully completed in 10 years.

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