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The Washington Convention Center is close to the National Mall, the Smithsonian, and the White House. But Disney can build all that in Maryland, right?
Today, the Peterson Companies announced that it sold 15 acres of land by the Potomac at National Harbor to Walt Disney Co. The property will not be used for the next iteration of “Disney’s America,” a “history-themed park” once slated to be built in Manassas that was killed years ago after much opposition, as the Washington Post reminded in an article this morning.
No, our new Disney property will be much like a similar project in Hawaii, the announcement states. That likely means the Disneyfication of some of our monuments, landmarks, and symbols of peace, liberty, and the like, all surrounded by a lot of hotel rooms as part of a large-scale resort. In Hawaii—-land of volcanoes, for example—-Disney’s project will feature a “giant artificial volcano.” What next? Perhaps, water-proof mannaquins of a young Barry Obama swimming next to Mickey Mouse?
I mean, on the one hand, good for Disney and National Harbor for landing this deal. On the other hand, what about our convention center, which is still lacking a main hotel and sits in a neighborhood where visitors must watch their backs at night?
The Post brings up a good point:
With its thousands of hotel rooms and huge public spaces, National Harbor has been a subject of speculation on whether it complements or cannibalizes the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and other conference centers in downtown Washington. Plans for a large new hotel at the convention center, considered a requisite for boosting business there, remain on the drawing board.
Image by Armadillo444, Flickr Creative Common