WASHINGTON, DC-The first hotel in the North of Massachusetts is breaking ground today. The 218-room hotel, a Courtyard by Marriott, located between the New York Avenue Metro station and the new headquarters of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, is also receiving recognition for being the District’s first Hispanic-owned Marriott hotel. Development costs for the hotel are expected to be approximately $55 million.

The eight story, 160,000-sf property will also have 10,000 sf of ground floor retail along with one outdoor café. The building will also have a green roof to reduce energy consumption and storm water runoff.

Elizabeth Price, the recently appointed president of the NoMA BID tells GlobeSt.com that the hotel is an important benchmark for the area in that is signifies a shift away from its previous incarnation as an sole office corridor. “Residential is coming to NOMA this summer,” she says. “Now, with the hotel, we have the beginnings of true neighborhood.” The hotel is also a great amenity for office tenants, she adds.

Another Marriott hotel–an Extended Stay–is also expected to break ground in NOMA in the first quarter of 2008, she says. As reported in GlobeSt.com, earlier this year MRP Realty received approval from the city’s Zoning Commission to begin work on a $350 million development called Washington Gateway. The one-million-sf, mixed-use project includes two office towers, a 250-unit residential tower and a 150-key extended stay hotel.

Robert Finvarb, CEO of The Finvarb Group, is the majority owner of Courtyard by Marriott. Also participating in the project are local investors Thomas Hopkins, Dave Wilmont of Harmon, Wilmot, Brown & Bagwell, LLP, and Craig Welburn of Welburn Hospitality.

This group is part of Marriott’s Diversity Ownership Initiative, a 2005 launched drive to develop 500 minority- and woman-owned Marriott hotels by 2010. So far more than 400 such hotels, including 30 open or under development in the Washington-Baltimore area, have been established.

The owners secured financing for the project earlier this year through Cohen Financial, which arranged a $49.75 million package from a national real estate finance company. At the beginning of the year, Cohen Financial arranged the land acquisition financing of the 31,107-sf infill site on which it will be developed.

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