Some Love for Walmart and Adams Morgan Hotel

We’ve heard a lot of objections to Walmart and the Adams Morgan Hotel plans. So I thought it was noteworthy to see some groups rallying in support:

Since there has been some concern raised that nobody is organizing those of us in the neighborhood who SUPPORT the Walmart development, I’ve taken on that task. I’ve created a new Yahoo Group, titled Ward4WalmartSupporters. If you’d like to join, please search the group out on Yahoo Groups, or send an email to [email protected]

We will discuss, constructively, some of the concerns that have been raised in these fora, develop ideas on how to constructively engage the developer and Walmart to ensure those concerns are heard and most importantly, act as a voice for those who want and need easy access to a low-cost retail and grocery option in our neighborhood.

And for the Adams Morgan Hotel from the AdamsMorgan MainStreet Group:

“***Clarification One: Creation of the availability of a tax abatement does not mean the project is approved. It only means the next steps of public approval can begin — the PUD process through ANC, HPRB, and BZA with public announcements and comments.

***Clarification Two: Anyone who is worried about budget cuts, should be for this project. Applied to a non-producing church property, it actually ADDS REVENUE TO CITY COFFERS which can be applied to programs. This project could make up some of the revenue the city has had to deduct from needed services. This $46 million tax abatement does not impact the city’s debt at all, and only adds cash flow because it abates taxes that do not yet exist. $7 million in CASH from all taxes and fees (only property tax is postponed) is paid annually during the tax abatement period ($5 million net to city if prorate the abatement). When the abatement period ends, the total revenue to the city goes up to $9, 10 – 15 million and more as the years go by.

Continues after the jump

***Clarification Three: DC is not out any money; it only gains revenue. City receives only $95,000 annually now from a deteriorating WCP building whose assessed value is going down. DC will never receive less, goes up to the $7 million when hotel is built. City Bikes is staying. WPFW was offered similar rent to stay, but their Board prefers to move to SE. Wash City Paper has made decision to be located nearer a Metro stop.

***Clarification Four: Jobs are desperately needed, from the construction to the permanent jobs. A hotel creates entry level jobs so necessary for DC’s high school graduates and non-graduates who have the highest % unemployment. But hotels and restaurants and gyms/spas produce training & experience to progress to higher levels or even small business ownership. (The owner of Lauriol Plaza started as a bus boy.) Entry into Hotel and restaurant management is participation in a growth industry.

***Clarification Five: The development group had to show $50 million in cash and cash equivalents and a total of $100 million in total equity. The tax abatement then — is NOT a giveaway but a financing tool to allow the amortization & leveraging of the developer’s huge investment. There is no $46 million cash from DC that can be spent on anything else. It merely allows the new revenue for the city to be created. We taxpayers are not writing a $46 million check to anyone — and certainly not to Marriott. Marriott is a “hired hand,” an operating partner who brings hotel management expertise.

***Clarification Six: The KCA vote on the tax abatement was 9 to 8.

***Clarification Seven: Hip, urban Ian Shraeger Hotel becomes what AdMo is missing — an anchor. Dupont, Georgetown, H street, U street, Barracks Row, Mount Vernon, etc. ALL have one or multiples of: large office buildings, Metro stop, hotels, or anchor tenants. We have none. This is why their indie biz, especially retail does better. Each of those areas says their hotels contribute greatly to their small business vitality, and/ or they are trying to get a hotel, or add another one.”

17 Comment

  • big thumbs up on the hotel.

    big thumbs down on wal-mart.

  • The Hotel is a no-brainer. We’re not handing over any money to the developers. Church (the largest subsidized business industry in the city) does not pay any tax on its land. There is really no other use for a large church… other than another large church (that doesn’t pay taxes) or mayyyybe condos? Condos would realistically be the only other way to get it on the tax rolls. But it wouldn’t generate much, and certainly wouldn’t generate many permanent jobs except maybe maintenance or front desk type positions.

    The likes of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute (it’s such a clever name, for a group that should rightly be called “DC Pro-Tax and Pro-Entitlement Programs Institute”) has been able to frame the debate more cleverly than the common sense forces. I guess it’s not cool or worthwhile to support job and income-producing projects using a strategy (tax abatements) that are used by nearly every jurisdiction in the country to attract and retain businesses and jobs. If Ed Lezare had his way, businesses of all types would be priced out of the District and we’d all be commuting to VA and MD to work, but the scant tax revenue would be used exclusively to bolster social services. (Basically, what happened during the 70’s and 80’s)

    Unfortunately we as a city do no live in a policy vacuum. The things we do, the taxes we enact… have an impact not only on reputation, but businesses and individuals have a very real choice, since if they look a few miles in any direction they have alternatives that aren’t that much different- just by crossing Eastern or Western Ave, or the Potomac.

  • The hotel is going to be a very high end hotel, beyond the rates of a W or Four Seasons. DC is so deserving and ready for ventures like these. And Adams Morgan is a great neighborhood for this to be built. Anyone against this just doesn’t understand the proposal or is just one of those NIMBYs that needs to move to the burbs.

  • Hi,

    I work at the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, and am also a regular PoP reader, and wanted to share a link to DCFPI’s analysis of the proposed hotel tax abatement since we were mentioned in an earlier post about being part of the debate, but our specific concerns were not shared. Here is a link to our analysis that address many of the points of clarification mentioned in the initial post: For a summary, you can read our blog post on the issue:


    • I read your post, and it seems like the concern is that the developer ought to commit to provide specific benefits. I don’t see anything hard about that.

      I think the earlier post slamming Lazere is off base. DCFPI certainly wasn’t against the hotel.

      DCFPI is asking to have the tradeoffs made explicit. It’s better to the tradeoffs specified upfront, rather than just hand out tax giveaways to friends of the political leaders, or just hand out and hope for future benefits.

    • I think DCFPI is doing itself a huge disservice. I can’t imagine it was an oversight that they don’t seem to mention the property is already in tax abatement status because its a church, and churchs don’t pay peoperty tax. By not mentioning that the property currently you are purposely misleading people and framing the argument in a way that is simply untrue.

      The second the hotel is built, there are additional jobs for the economy and immediate cash infusion (~5 million a year) in collected sales and lodging tax to the District Treasury.

      You are taking a property that currently provides zero property tax and zero income or sales tax and turning it into a cash machine for the District. When the EXISTING property tax abatement runs out, it will provide an additional ~5 million a year to DC.

      DC is not providing any upfront money. This deal wouldn’t affect our proposed budget or deficit next year, because the property was already property tax exempt.

  • Glad to see people rallying in support of the Hotel. All too often it is only the Nimbys who mobilize and attend community input meetings. While supports don’t attend because they have no qualms to voice. If you are in support of the Hotel you should definitely attend and let your presence be known. Otherwise the Nimbys pretend they speak for the community as a whole.

  • i’m for wal-mart if they take into consideration some community concerns, add to the tax base, give folks a decent place to get what they need.

  • Wait for the NIMBYs on the ANC to kill this in 3…2…1…

  • I have attended some of those community meetings with as open a mind as I can muster and have not heard a logical explanation as to why the abatement should be opposed.

    When I mentioned that it is very likely to be a revenue positive move for a city in need of such things, I was told by one vocal opposer that since he is not an economist he doesn’t want to discuss it in those terms.

    The signs framing it as a hand out to Marriott are very misleading. Personally this will probably have little impact on my life one way or the other but if you support it you should get involved if only to prevent a small group of wilfully uninformed NIMBYs from deciding what your neighborhood will look like and what DC’s revenue stream will be in the coming years.

  • Thanks for the walmart support POP.

  • Hotel – definitely support.

    Walmart –

    1. By and large, the businesses that currently exist on GA Ave in that area will not be in competition with Walmart – different products and services. Establishing a Walmart could actually benefit them by increasing the volume of shopper in the neighborhood.

    2. The city should make sure that the Walmart development is tied to smart development for Brightwood in terms of population and transportation, public safety and job growth to attract new, follow on development, increasing population and tax base. It can work and be a win for everyone if it the development is predicated to derive real benefits for all.

  • Thanks for the shout out PoP! There are plenty of supporters of a new, low-cost retail option in Brightwood.

  • No to WalMart.
    Lowest paying jobs possible and cheapest quality goods available. WalMart always does and WILL effect all local businesses by undercutting them. All will end up closing. This has happened hundreds of times in every other place WalMart opens.

Comments are closed.