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WASHINGTON, DC-The Washington Convention Center Authority is taking small steps toward a big goal. In an effort to cull land near the new 2.3-million-sf Washington Convention Center, the WCCA has committed to purchasing a half-acre parcel from the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry. The land, at the corner of Massachusetts and 9th Streets NW, will be used to develop a $400-million 1,220-room hotel complex that, if negotiations proceed as planned, could carry the Marriott flag.

The property includes a 90-year-old office building that is on the National Register of Historic Places and sits right next to the convention center, which is located at 801 Mount Vernon Pl. NW. WCCA, which proposed to give United Association a $900,000 deposit on the property a few weeks ago, wasn’t the only party interested in the property. Lubert-Adler Management Inc., a Philadelphia-based real estate firm, offered United Association $30 million for the site despite the fact that United Association was not openly marketing the property. Those involved with the impending transaction have not revealed the price WCCA will pay for the site.

It was just last month that WCCA’s board of directors made its official decision of just what land surrounding the convention center it should pursue for the hotel’s development. “The board reached this conclusion after thorough and diligent review of all of the options and financing feasibility,” WCCA general manager and CEO Thomas Mobley Jr. says in a prepared statement. “They feel that the 9th Street site is the best location for ensuring continued long term success of the convention center.” WCCA needs one-and-one-half acres or so of additional space to complete the amount of land required for the project’s development. To that end, the organization has been working with the owner of surrounding parcels, local developer Kingdon Gould III, in an effort to amass the final acreage.

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