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Marriott Headquarters Construction Temporarily Halted After 2 Workers Tested Positive For Coronavirus

A rendering of Marriott International's planned HQ and adjacent hotel in Downtown Bethesda, being developed by Bernstein Cos. and Boston Properties

Marriott International, one of the companies hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, is now temporarily stopping work on its new $600M corporate headquarters project because of the pandemic.

Construction on the 22-story office tower and adjacent hotel in Downtown Bethesda, Maryland, has been suspended after two subcontractor employees working on the project tested positive for the coronavirus, Bethesda Magazine reports.

Work on the project is expected to resume next week, general contractor Hensel Phelps said. It said the workers left the site more than a week ago after experiencing flu-like symptoms. The company is now engaging in a deep cleaning process on the site, and it plans to add additional hand-washing and sanitizing stations. 

Maryland, along with D.C. and Virginia, has classified construction as an essential operation, allowing work to continue as many nonessential businesses have been forced to close during the pandemic. As of Thursday, Maryland had 2,332 positive cases of the coronavirus, the most in the region, according to the Washington Post

Marriott's headquarters project, featuring 785K SF of office space and 244 hotel rooms, broke ground in June 2018 and is expected to deliver in 2022. At 7750 Wisconsin Ave., it sits about two blocks from the Bethesda Metro station.  

Boston Properties and Bernstein Cos. are developing the project, which was designed by Gensler. Marriott last year sold its current headquarters in North Bethesda to a senior living developer.

The hotel giant has furloughed thousands of employees as it suffers significant damage from the pandemic that has halted travel around the world. The company's occupancy levels in North America and Europe had dropped below 25% as of March 19, and Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson told investors he expected that number to continue falling.