Marriott Executive Addresses Parking Concerns Related to Company’s Move to Downtown Bethesda
Public transportation, increased shuttle service could help alleviate parking demand
Rendering of Marriott headquarters
Marriott International’s goal of getting half its 3,500 corporate employees to commute on public transportation should help ease the parking pressures created by its expected move to downtown Bethesda in 2022, a company executive said.
Jim Young, Marriott International’s vice president of corporate facilities, answered questions about the hotel giant’s planned relocation Friday morning at the annual real estate update for the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce. The company’s decision to establish a headquarters and flagship hotel near Woodmont Triangle will bring hundreds of additional workers and guests to the area and breathe new life into the local economy, Bethesda real estate agent Jane Fairweather said.
“Think of this: 3,500 wallets are coming to Bethesda every day,” Fairweather told the group of more than 100 gathered at Round House Theater.
However, Marriott’s planned use of the county’s Woodmont Corner Garage is a concern for some retailers, who worry that a parking crunch will keep away potential shoppers and diners. Through a lease with the county, the hotel giant’s employees and visitors will have exclusive access to the garage during business hours. A couple of people asked questions about possible strategies for addressing the loss of 1,100 parking spaces.
Young said corporate efforts to encourage public transportation will play a role. The county is also looking at constructing more parking and increasing service on the Bethesda Circulator so that visitors and employees can park in other local lots and garages.
The Bethesda housing market could also see a boost as Marriott workers look to move closer to the area, Young said. As is, many employees commute from Frederick and beyond to the company’s current headquarters in Bethesda’s Rock Spring office park.
Young also gave an overview of features included in the 230-room hotel that the company wants to build next to its headquarters. The hotel will include 8,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and a ground-floor restaurant, he said. It will also include 18 lab rooms, where Marriott will experiment with innovative layouts and decorating styles, Young said.
Fairweather said the new employees and the tourist traffic expected to result from Marriott’s relocation has the potential to activate the Woodmont Triangle from morning until late night.
“I think it’s going to bring a funkier, more fun vibe to the Woodmont Triangle,” she said.