DC’s L’Enfant Plaza Hotel to Undergo Renovation after Acquisition by Hotel Group

The new owners of the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, an iconic luxury hotel in Washington, D.C., said this week the 372-key property is closed and will be undergoing a major renovation, expected to be completed sometime next year.

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The new owners of the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, an iconic luxury hotel in Washington, D.C., said this week the 372-key property is closed and will be undergoing a major renovation, expected to be completed sometime next year.

“This is one of the premier locations in the Nation’s Capital and serves both leisure and business guests,” Will Gibbs, senior vice president of L’Enfant DC Hotel L.L.C., said in a news release. “Our plans to restore the hotel to 4 Diamond status are being developed now with intentions to re-open the hotel in 2015.”

L’Enfant DC Hotel L.L.C. is an affiliate of the Stanford Hotels Group, which operates 13 hotels and has four under construction or in development, including Hyatt Place, a 24-story, 130-room luxury hotel in Times Square in Manhattan. Last week, the group announced it was building a 15-story, 250-room upscale hotel in the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco. That project is the first new full-service hotel to be built in the city since 2008.

The Washington, D.C., hotel is located at 480 L’Enfant Plaza in the Southwest section one block from many of the city’s tourist attractions, including The National Mall and The Smithsonian. It was closed Dec. 3, when the Stanford affiliate took control of the property from The JBG Cos. The company did not release the price of the purchase, but the Washington Business Journal reported it was $48.7 million – the price Stanford was supposed to pay a previous owner in 1997. The landmark hotel has been the subject of a lawsuit over a deal dating back to the late 1990s, when Sarakreek Holdings NV sought bids for the hotel and Stanford was the winning bidder with $48.7 million, according to the Washington Business Journal story. Before the deal closed, Sarakreek reportedly took a higher bid from an affiliate of The JBS Cos. On July 31, a D.C. Superior Court judge issued a ruling requiring JBG to sell the hotel to Stanford.

JBG Cos. still owns several nearby properties, including mixed-use buildings at 470/490 L’Enfant Plaza and an office building at 500 L’Enfant Plaza.

“The current development of an additional 58,000 square feet of retail space adjacent to the hotel and the future development plans of 1.8 million square feet of mixed-use commercial property on the Potomac River’s Southwest waterfront one block away make the potential for the hotel to be at the height of its 40-plus-year history,” Gibbs added in the release.

Hospitality industry expert Tom Baker, a managing director at international real estate advisement firm Savills, L.L.C., in Washington, D.C., also noted the close proximity to the Southwest waterfront project planned by PN Hoffman/Madison Marquette and other city attractions.

“It has an excellent location, unbeatable Metro access and is very well known in the D.C. market,” he told Commercial Property Executive. “When renovations are complete, the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel will recapture its place among the premier hotels in Washington, D.C.”

Baker said Stanford took the smart step in shutting down the facility during the extended renovations.

“At 40 plus years old, it is in need of a major overhaul,” Baker concluded. “The new owners recognized the disruptive nature of such a renovation and wisely, in my opinion, chose to close the hotel during construction.”