Virgin Wants DC Hotel... But Where?
You didn't think Sir Richard Branson would sit back and let Donald Trump have all the DC hotel fun? His Virgin Hotels will be making its own entry in to the nation's capital. (His airline now lets you send love notes between seats; imagine what they'd do for hotels.)
Allie Hope, development and acquisitions head for Virgin Hotels (obviously not pictured above), tells us the firm's eventual DC site could be either a ground-up development or a historic conversion, such as how Virgin turned an Art Deco office tower in Chicago into its first hotel (delivering Q2 next year). To gain local expertise, the firm turned to Epic Consulting's Theo Bell, a GSA expert,whom Allie says "has made some great introductions for us." Virgin will also look to bring in a local development partner. It could be MRP Realty, which Allie says the firm "hopes to find a project to work on together soon."
There's no deadline on finding a site, Allie says, as Virgin will wait for the right opportunity. And she says the firm isn't narrow minded on location, though the DC proper is the likely destination, noting it looked at bidding for the West Heating Plant as well as theSouthwest Waterfront. (It's also rumored it looked at purchasing the Embassy Row hotel.) Virgin could also look at a management deal and not actually own the real estate or convert an existing hotel, she says. Theo says if the site ends up being a renovation, Virgin could create something special: "Allie and her design team would be able to preserve the structure and reuse it as a very hip hotel."