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An old Monument Realty sign near the entrance to the Watergate Hotel. Rooms should be available right about now!
Back in July, I and many members of the national and international press corps packed into a small Friendship Heights office for the auction of the Watergate Hotel. BBC was there! And CNN! And then…and then…nothing really happened.
One offer was tossed out: $25 million from the original lender for the purchase of the hotel, PB Capital. No other hands shot up. Developer Monument Realty lost the property. PB Capital took it back.
Since then, the story’s taken a few twists: In October, the Wall Street Journal reported that the hotel was under contract to “a venture led by Holland Development Group for a price that is expected to be in the $40 million range.”
But just today, DCmud reported that Holland is now out of the picture—-but Monument Realty is back in again.
Right after the auction, DCMud talked to Monument’s Michael Darby, “whoindicated he had raised the necessary funds to buy back the property,” but was turned down by the bank. But now, with Holland no longer interested in the building, rumor is Monument’s steppin’ up its efforts again (according to DCmud):
An industry source says Monument is seeking contractors for a “top to bottom renovation of the existing 13-story, 250-room hotel. Renovations will include reducing the number of rooms, while expanding the rooms that do remain to 650 s.f.” The project costs are estimated at $20 million. When DCMud inquired about Monument’s plans, Natasha Stancill, spokesperson for Monument, responded “we are going to pass on commenting.” Which of course increased our suspicion.
Image by Ruth Samuelson