Marriott Wardman Park

Coordinates: 38°55′30″N 77°3′13″W / 38.92500°N 77.05361°W / 38.92500; -77.05361
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wardman Park Annex and Arcade
Wardman Tower Condominiums, formerly part of the hotel
Marriott Wardman Park is located in Washington, D.C.
Marriott Wardman Park
Marriott Wardman Park is located in the United States
Marriott Wardman Park
Location2600 Woodley Road NW, Washington, D.C.
Coordinates38°55′30″N 77°3′13″W / 38.92500°N 77.05361°W / 38.92500; -77.05361
Area2.7 acres (1.1 ha)
Built1928; 96 years ago (1928)
ArchitectMihran Mesrobian
Architectural styleColonial Revival
NRHP reference No.84000869[1] (original)
100003945 (increase)
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJanuary 31, 1984; 40 years ago (1984-01-31)
Boundary increaseMay 10, 2019; 4 years ago (2019-05-10)

The Washington Marriott Wardman Park was a hotel on Connecticut Avenue next to the Woodley Park station of the Washington Metro in the Woodley Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

The hotel had 1,152 rooms, 195,000 square feet (18,100 m2) of event space, and 95,000 square feet (8,800 m2) of exhibit space. It opened in 1918 and closed in 2020. The owner filed for bankruptcy in 2021 and the property was sold to Carmel Partners for $152.2 million, with plans for redevelopment.

The Wardman Tower wing was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 31, 1984.[2]


Original 1918 hotel structure[edit]

The original Wardman Park Hotel, in 1922, before the addition of the Wardman Tower.

The original hotel on the site was built between 1917 and 1918 by local developer Harry Wardman and was designed by local architect Frank Russell White. It was an eight-story, red brick structure modeled on The Homestead resort in Virginia.[3] The hotel was the largest in the city, with 1,200 rooms and 625 baths. It was nicknamed Wardman's Folly, due to its location far outside the developed area of Washington at the time.[3]

The hotel opened as the Wardman Park Inn[4] on November 23, 1918,[5] just days after the 1918 Armistice ended World War I. No elaborate opening festivities were held, since public gatherings were illegal during the Spanish flu pandemic. The hotel was hugely successful due to the housing shortage caused by the growth of Washington, D.C., during World War I.[3] Within a year of its opening, the property was renamed the Wardman Park Hotel.[6] It attracted prominent guests and tenants; foreign ambassadors, members of Congress, and Vice President Marshall took up residence.[4]

In 1928, the hotel added an eight-story, 350-room residential-hotel annex designed by architect Mihran Mesrobian. That building, now converted into condominiums, is the only surviving portion of the original Wardman Park, known as the Wardman Tower, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Wardman was forced to sell the hotel in 1931 due to the Great Depression, and the hotel was acquired by Washington Properties.[3]

Before the United States entered World War II, a British spy named Cynthia operated out of the premises as she spied on the Vichy French Embassy. At night, she would visit her lover, an embassy employee whom she had compromised, and steal secret documents, transport them back to the hotel, and photograph them in a lab she had set up in her room.[7]

The hotel contained a full-service drug store/pharmacy; the pharmacist was known as Doc Wardman. There was also a U.S. Post Office and shops in the basement, including a butcher, grocery store, and dry cleaner that was stocked even during World War II.[8]

In the late 1940s, the Olympic-size swimming pool was used by the 5th Marine Reserves, who were taught how to swim with their clothes on.

The first televised broadcast of NBC's Meet the Press took place in 1947 in the Wardman Tower, where host Lawrence Spivak lived. Other shows broadcast from the hotel include The Camel News Caravan, The Today Show (Frank Blair segments), and The Arthur Murray Dance Program.[9]

In 1953, Sheraton Hotels purchased Washington Properties Inc., owner of the Wardman Park Hotel and the Wardman-built Carlton Hotel. Renamed the Sheraton-Park Hotel,[10] its focus shifted from longer-term residents to overnight guests.[3] Substantial additions were made to the property, including large new ballrooms and a 1964 addition known as the Motor Inn and later known as the Park Tower.

In August 1962, Army Special Forces soldiers trained by rappelling down the side of the hotel.

New main building of the hotel, completed in 1980.

In 1972, Sheraton began planning to replace the aging main wing of the hotel.[11] In 1977, the company presented plans to local residents groups for a modern, 1,050-room hotel to be built on the 12-acre property. Construction began in early 1979. The furniture and fittings of the original 950-room 1918 structure were sold to the public in June 1979[12] and demolition of the original wing began on July 25, 1979, to allow further construction of the new wing.[13] The 500 rooms in the Wardman Tower and Motor Inn wings remained open throughout construction.[14]

Second 1980 hotel structure[edit]

The partially-completed new $104 million building opened in October 1979 as the Sheraton Washington Hotel, the largest hotel and convention complex on the East Coast.[15] The new wing was fully completed and opened in August 1980.[16]

While construction was still underway, in 1979, Sheraton sold an interest in the hotel to the John Hancock Life Insurance Company. In 1985, John Hancock bought out Sheraton's remaining interest in the hotel, but paid the chain to continue managing the property. In August 1997, John Hancock filed a breach-of-contract suit against the hotel chain, by then renamed ITT Sheraton, alleging mismanagement of the hotel. In March 1998, a federal judge in Delaware ordered ITT Sheraton to withdraw as manager of the hotel.[17] Marriott International took over management of the property that month, renaming it the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.[18]

In January 1999, Thayer Lodging Group of Annapolis, Maryland, run by two former Marriott executives, purchased the hotel from John Hancock[19] for $227 million and spent another $100 million on renovations.[20]

In 2005, Thayer Lodging Group sold the hotel to JBG Smith and CIM Group for $300 million.[21]

JBG planned to convert a portion of the hotel into luxury condominiums and construct a 200-unit condominium building on a 16-acre (65,000 m2) lot next to the hotel.[22] JBG also said it would demolish the hotel's parking garage and main ballroom, and spend $50 million to renovate the guest rooms, add dining space, build a new fitness center, and improve the exhibition and meeting space.[23] Marriott, which managed the hotel, had the right to veto the conversion of hotel rooms into condos if revenues on the remaining hotel section fell below a specified number.[24] Hotel revenues declined during the Great Recession, and Marriott exercised its right to stop the conversion of the hotel into condominiums.[24]

On November 20, 2008, United States Attorney General Michael Mukasey collapsed and lost consciousness at the hotel while giving a speech to the Federalist Society. He revived and was taken to George Washington University Hospital.[25]

On March 29, 2010, Superior Court of the District of Columbia Judge Natalia Combs Greene granted partial summary judgment and a motion to dismiss. A partial out-of-court settlement had already been reached by the parties giving JBG some limited ability to move forward on the condo project, but that agreement now seemed unnecessary given the court's ruling.[26] The parties suspended litigation against one another to negotiate, but litigation resumed on June 8, 2010.[27]

The parties in the various lawsuits resolved their legal dispute on July 1, 2010, allowing construction to resume.[28][29]

After the collapse of the housing market during the financial crisis of 2007-2008, JBG decided to construct an apartment building on the vacant acreage rather than condominiums.[22] D.C.-based architect David M. Schwarz designed an eight-story, 212-unit building for the company. Originally called Wardman West, the name was later changed to 2700 Woodley and then later to The Woodley. In June 2014, after the building was completed, but before it was leased, JBG sold The Woodley for $195 million, or $920,000 per unit, to TIAA-CREF, which set a record for the highest price-per-unit ever paid for a multifamily project in the D.C. metropolitan area.[30][31][32]

In 2015, JBG renovated floors 3 to 8 of the Wardman Tower into 32 luxury condominiums, while the first and second floors remained part of the hotel business.[33] The project was financed by $54 million from North America Sekisui House LLC (NASH), the North American division of the largest homebuilding corporation in Japan.[34] One of the condominium units sold for $8.4 million.[35]

In January 2018, JBG Group and CIM Group, which had owned roughly equal interests in the hotel, sold a controlling interest in the property (66.67%) to Pacific Life, with JBG and CIM each retaining 16.67% ownership.[36] In February 2020, CIM Group sold its interest in the hotel.

In March 2020, the hotel closed temporarily, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On June 22, 2020, the hotel's owners notified the workers' union that they might close the hotel permanently.[37] On September 3, 2020, Pacific Life petitioned in a Delaware court to dissolve its ownership partnership with JBG. The two companies resolved their dispute on October 2, 2020.[38] On October 6, 2020, Marriott sued Pacific Life (which owned 80% of the property) and JBG Smith (which owned 20%). Marriott claimed the two companies were intentionally failing to invest contractually obligated capital in the hotel to force the property to close so it could be redeveloped, cheating Marriott of fees to be earned from its long-term management contract.[38] In October 2020, JBG Smith transferred its ownership stake in the hotel to Pacific Life with a zero value.[39]

On January 11, 2021, the owning entity, Pacific Life subsidiary Wardman Hotel Owner LLC, filed for bankruptcy, announced that the hotel would be closed permanently, and ended its management contract with Marriott.[40][41] In December 2021, the property was sold in a 192-round bankruptcy auction[42] to Carmel Partners for $152.2 million, with plans for redevelopment.[8] In August 2023, Carmel secured a $360 million loan from Wells Fargo for the redevelopment, with plans for two large residential towers to be built on the property.[42]


The Wardman Tower building was home to several politicians and other world public figures:


The Marriott Wardman Park hosted many annual events including:

The hotel was included in the rotation of cities in which the American Contract Bridge League holds North American Bridge Championship tournaments.[45]

The annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board was held at the Marriott Wardman Park for nearly 60 years.[46] It was moved to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in 2015.[47]

In March 2017, Cvent, an event management company, ranked the Marriott Wardman Park at 87th in its annual list of the top U.S. hotels for meetings.[48]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "Every floor plan is different in Wardman Tower condos". Washington Post. June 14, 2021. ISSN 0190-8286.
  3. ^ a b c d e
  4. ^ a b "The Washington Post 01 Jun 1919, page Page 4". Retrieved 2022-11-18.
  5. ^ Clabaugh, Jeff (June 24, 2020). "Marriott Wardman Park may close for good". WTOP-FM.
  6. ^ "Evening Star 25 Nov 1919, page 9". Retrieved 2022-11-18.
  7. ^ MCINTOSH, ELIZABETH P. (1998). "Sisterhood of Spies". Naval Institute Press – via The New York Times.
  8. ^ a b Koma, Alex (December 21, 2021). "The former Marriott Wardman Park could soon be torn down. What comes next is unclear". American City Business Journals.
  9. ^ "Think you know MTP? Test your knowledge with broadcast-themed trivia". NBC News. July 4, 2010.
  10. ^ "Sheraton Corporation of America, 1953 Annual Report".
  11. ^ Mitchell, Henry (June 28, 1979). "The Great Sheraton-Park Renovation Sale". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  12. ^ Mitchell, Henry (June 28, 1979). "The Great Sheraton-Park Renovation Sale". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  13. ^ Oman, Anne H. (July 19, 1979). "Woodley Park Residents to Fight Sheraton Plans for Larger Hotel". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  14. ^ Mitchell, Henry (June 28, 1979). "The Great Sheraton-Park Renovation Sale". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  15. ^ Gamarekian, Barbara (October 7, 1979). "The Boom on the Potomac". The New York Times. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  16. ^ Levey, Bob (July 24, 1980). "The Hotel vs. Woodley Park: Trading Rancor for Rapport?". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  17. ^ Deady, Tim (March 16, 1998). "Sheraton out as hotel manager". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved December 21, 2022.
  18. ^ Evans, Judith (August 20, 1998). "John Hancock to Sell off Prime Real Estate". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 21, 2022.
  19. ^ "Thayer Hotel Investors Purchase the 1,338-room Marriott Wardman Park - Price in Excess of $200 Million". Hotel Online. January 15, 1999.
  20. ^ Hedgpeth, Dana (September 23, 2004). "D.C.'s Biggest Hotel May Be Sold". The Washington Post.
  21. ^ "DC Hotel Owner Says Its Ch. 11 Case Belongs In Delaware". Law360. February 3, 2021.
  22. ^ a b O'Connell, Jonathan (April 13, 2012). "What's Going On With...Construction at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel?". The Washington Post.
  23. ^ Hedgepeth, Dana (July 4, 2005). "New Owners Have Plans for District Hotel". The Washington Post.
  24. ^ a b Castro, Melissa; O'Connell, Jonathan (October 5, 2009). "What's Behind JBG's Convention Hotel Lawsuit?". American City Business Journals.
  25. ^ "AG Mukasey collapsed in 'fainting spell,' official says". CNN. November 21, 2008.
  26. ^ Krouse, Sarah (March 30, 2010). "No Word Yet From JBG After Judge Dismisses Convention Hotel Lawsuit". American City Business Journals.
  27. ^ "Attorney General: D.C. Lawsuit Against JBG Back On". American City Business Journals. June 9, 2010.
  28. ^ "Marriott, JBG Agreement Clears Convention Hotel". American City Business Journals. July 7, 2010.
  29. ^ O'Connell, Jonathan (July 7, 2010). "JBG and Marriott agree to allow convention center hotel construction to start". The Washington Post.
  30. ^ Sernovitz, Daniel J. (June 26, 2014). "With The Woodley, TIAA-CREF Sets New Record Last Held By... TIAA-CREF". American City Business Journals.
  31. ^ Terry, Robert J. (May 1, 2015). "The Woodley". American City Business Journals.
  32. ^ Banister, Jon (June 25, 2020). "Marriott Might Close 100-Year-Old Wardman Park Hotel". Bisnow Media.
  33. ^ "Japanese investor partners on Wardman Tower condos". American City Business Journals. February 28, 2014.
  34. ^ Sernovitz, Daniel J. (February 28, 2014). "Japanese Investor Partners on Wardman Tower Condos". American City Business Journals.
  35. ^ Neibauer, Michael (May 10, 2017). "At $8.4M, Wardman Tower condo nearly sets record for most expensive ever sold in D.C.". American City Business Journals.
  36. ^ "JBG SMITH Properties 2017 Form 10-K Annual Report". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  37. ^ "Union to employees: Marriott Wardman Park Hotel may close after storied, 102-year run". WJLA-TV. June 23, 2020.
  38. ^ a b Maake, Katishi (October 6, 2020). "Marriott sues Wardman Park hotel owner, alleging a lack of investment in the property". American City Business Journals.
  39. ^ Maake, Katishi (November 3, 2020). "JBG Smith transfers its ownership of the Marriott Wardman Park in D.C.". American City Business Journals.
  40. ^ "Owner of DC's Wardman Park Hotel files for bankruptcy". WTOP-FM. January 12, 2021.
  41. ^ Jr, James Wright (7 July 2021). "D.C. Debates Fate of Shuttered Marriott Wardman Park Hotel". The Washington Informer.
  42. ^ a b Loria, Keith (2023-08-30). "Wells Fargo Provides $360M For Carmel Partner's Historic Hotel Redevelopment in DC". Commercial Observer. Retrieved 2023-11-08.
  43. ^ Winkjer Collin, Andrea (2010). Mr. Wheat: A Biography of U.S. Senator Milton Young. Bismarck, North Dakota: Smoky Water Press. p. 290.
  44. ^ "DC Collaborative Selected to Be Beneficiary of AnimeUSA Auction". Anime News Network (Press release). November 6, 2012.
  45. ^ "Past NABCs". American Contract Bridge League.
  46. ^ "Transportation Research Board 93rd Annual Meeting 2014". World Resources Institute. 4 January 2014.
  47. ^ "94th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB)". World Resources Institute. 22 December 2014.
  48. ^ Neibauer, Michael (March 28, 2017). "Six D.C.-area hotels land in Cvent's top 100 for U.S. meetings". American City Business Journals.

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