The engine of capitalism churns forward! Today a bill authorizing the construction of the convention center hotel was passed by the D.C. Council.
The long-delayed project sat idly by as the National Harbor attracted convention business, and Disney acquired 15 acres of property in the area to build a resort.
In early June, At-large Councilmember Kwame Brown and Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans re-ignited the effort to devise a funding scheme for the project. The initial plan called for an extreme use of public funds.
But over the last few weeks, a new proposal was devised with much more private investment.
At a recent hearing, Evans invoked images of crumbling bureaucracy and decrepit school buildings to describe the value of big money projects to the city.
“I want you to imagine a District of Columbia without a Verizon Center and a convention center,” he stated. “It would probably look like Detroit.”
Plus, Shaw locals came out and said they really wanted some nice restaurants and stuff in their neighborhood.
So there you have it.
“We went from a 100 percent publicly financed hotel to a deal that requires the developer to fund the majority of the costs,” said Brown in a press release issued today. “While it’s not the ideal result, in these tough economic times we can now look forward to revitalizing the Shaw neighborhood and putting District residents to work.”
Image by NCinDC, Flickr Creative Commons