“Conrad Hilton Hotel site mobilization underway.” at CityCenterDC

conrad hilton
9th and I Street, NW

Thanks to a reader for sending the update. Back in 2014 we leanred:

“Hines, the international real estate firm and Qatari Diar, the real estate development entity of the Qatar Investment Authority, together developers of CityCenterDC, and D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, announced today that the parties have closed on the agreement allowing Hines and Qatari Diar to proceed with the design and construction of a 370-room luxury hotel and 70,000 square feet of large-format retail space, at CityCenterDC, the 10-acre, landmark, mixed-use development located in the heart of the nation’s capital. It was further announced that the hotel will be the Conrad Washington, D.C., the newest property in the Conrad Hotels & Resorts luxury brand portfolio operated by Hilton Worldwide (NYSE: HTL).

The Conrad Washington, D.C. project is being designed by Herzog & de Meuron Architekten, the internationally acclaimed design firm headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, and HKS Architects, Inc., a Dallas-based design firm with offices worldwide, including the District of Columbia, as Architect of Record. Herzog & de Meuron is known for sophisticated projects around the world including the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, The Tate Modern in London and the iconic 56 Leonard, a new condominium tower in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood.”

Rendering via CityCenterDC

45 Comment

  • Wishing DC developers realize that when you do all glass fronts the sun reflects and hits pedestrians like ants through a magnifying glass.

  • According to the sign on the site, this is way overdue. I wonder if it will be as unsuccessful as the retailers there seem to be.

  • yawn. This is the best that such “acclaimed architects” can offer?

    • maxwell smart

      Honestly, what it really demonstrates is how tepid and conservative DC architecture is. Herzog & de Meuron can sometimes be a little hit or miss, but you can usually count on them to do something fairly unique and inventive. Compare this bland proposal with their project in NY that is almost complete, 56 Leonard. Height restriction aside, you can guarantee something like that would NEVER get built here. In some ways, I don’t see what’s the use in getting an “acclaimed architect” when the general consensus of DC is for bland, uninspiring Architecture. You could get any local hack to design this building, keep the money local and probably save millions.

      • +1000. As the child of an architect who spent hours pouring over architectural books, magazines, and plans, I’m so often disappointed by the new buildings that go up.

      • 56 Leonard looks really good by the way

        • Tsar of Truxton

          I don’t know about really good. It looks like a giant Jenga game. It might be cool for a few years, but what will people think of it in 20 years?

          • Good point, I was not thinking that far ahead. I guess it is just refreshing to see something different even if it is just a trend and wont have staying power.

        • I agree with Tsar. I find 56 Leonard to be cartoonish.

      • In their slight defense (I still think there are some ugly buildings), the height restriction really hinders things – not just because of the actual restriction design wise, but also because of it, you have to maximize the sq footage.
        Someone in an earlier thread pointed to one of the libraries as a great example of creative architecture with a height restriction. Well, that’s great – but the library has 0 responsibility on renting out their space to pay for the construction cost.
        DC has a severe lack of housing and it’s frustrating to see nothing done about it. I’m all for the height restriction in the core DC area – but DC is seriously losing out when you look over the river and see Arlington. There’s no reason to have the height restriction starting around say, Columbia Heights. The problem in Arlington though is almost all of their tall developments are commercial, not residential. In addition, you see a plan come out for a stadium on the RFK site – yet no effort to build new residential on a HUGE space.

        • The height restriction is the root cause of poor architecture in DC. Everyone has to maximize sq/footage to pay the bills, and therefore all the buildings look the same. The only real differentiation is materials and embellishments.
          This is similar to why all new cars look the same–they have strict mileage requirements and barring any drastic new engine tech they are all trending toward the same shape to minimize wind resistance.

          • Disagreed. The height limit makes a convenient scapegoat, but if people wanted to build attractive buildings, they could.

          • Textdoc, your reply is simply a “nuh-uh!”
            Do you have any examples of more interesting looking lower level residential buildings that also maximize space? I’m actually curious as to if there are any out there. All the examples people give are buildings that go above 12 stories.

          • The height limit effectively forces everyone to build boxes to maximize the FAR. This isn’t really up for debate. The only thing architects really get to play with in large-scale DC development is the building facade. I find this one fairly interesting with all the curved glass elements. Could it stand out more? Sure it could, but it would still be the same basic box you see above. This is governed by the heights-restriction. Hope that helps.

          • These “it’s the height limit!” arguments are totally bogus. Why would developers suddenly stop maximizing profits solely because they can build a little taller? They wouldn’t. They generally build boring boxes in DC because that is what maximizes their profits. If architectural flare would bring them more money they would do that instead.

          • To Anonymous 1:08pm – But with more height in play, the city could make added stories an optional density bonus, in exchange for amenities provided by the builder. Typically that has been on-site things like public plazas or atrium, but it could be more creative too, like affordable housing off-site. With the height limit, there’s less the city can offer as an incentive to the builder.

          • maxwell smart

            Okay… so let’s say we open up the height restriction and everyone can build a little taller (as I think most people would agree that DC can not support towers). This only works if current FAR is maintained – which then gives the architects and developers some latitude to play with the massing of the buildings. But where is the incentive? The impetuses to free up the height restriction is to add more density, therefore more FAR. Which will just result in taller glass boxes.

        • maxwell smart

          Okay… but this development isn’t housing. It’s a hotel. And a luxury hotel at that. It’s not adding housing.

  • Bear

    Nice to see DC doing business with developers from a country where they jail rape victims.

    • SusanRH

      I hope that the Netherlands says it will not participate in the World Cup and that other countries join them. I know there is so much going on in the world right now, but this story is truly horrible!

  • As far as the comments on “architectural pizzaz”, that is entirely driven by the DC Height limit. Full stop, so if you feel that strongly about it I suggest you start lobbying your city and federal stakeholders to get it changed.

    When you are limited to 12 stories and you still have to make the project pencil financially, you build something that uses all the FAR in the most efficient way and a box it the best way to do that.

  • Does the Marriott Marquis across the street have high occupancy? For as large as it is, it doesn’t seem to be exactly bustling.
    I definitely think DC could use more hotels, but I feel like they all build right next to each other – and add in another Marriott on the other side of the Marquis as well.

  • Although plans have been announced, it is a shame the other 1/2 of the lot isn’t being built out at the same time.
    And to the residents of CityCenter, best of luck with the coming construction. Keep your windows shut and the ear plugs handy.

  • Accountering

    This is great news. A surface parking lot has no business being at 9th and I. Much better use of the space.

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