2018 | Development

Retirement Community Developer Buys Marriott’s Bethesda Campus

Redevelopment to begin in 2022 after hotelier moves into new headquarters

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Senior community developer Erickson Living has purchased Marriott International Inc.’s headquarters property in Bethesda and plans to build a continuing care retirement community, the company announced Tuesday.

Erickson operates 20 senior living communities in 11 states, including properties in Silver Spring, Catonsville and Parkville.

“As a thriving urban center, this location provides an ideal opportunity to further expand our service offerings in the State of Maryland, as well as Montgomery County,” Erickson Living CEO Alan Butler said in a statement. “As a trusted leader in senior housing and health care, we embrace the opportunity to serve communities by meeting the growing demand for senior housing.”

The 33.6-acre property on Fernwood Road in the Rock Spring area sold for $104.6 million, with ELP Bethesda LLC assuming a $42.6 million loan, according to Montgomery Newsletter, a county real estate publication. Updated sales information was not available from state online assessment records.

Marriott’s lease on the 775,000-square-foot, 51-year-old building expires in 2022, when it plans to relocate to downtown Bethesda where a $600 million headquarters and hotel is under construction.

Erickson, founded more than three decades ago, plans to invest $2 billion over the next five years in new communities, in addition to $400 million in expansion and renovation projects, according to the trade publication Senior Housing News.

A spokeswoman for Marriott referred questions to Erickson and the commercial brokerage handling the sale, which was completed in December.

Updated plans and zoning for the area, long an office park that included large corporations, allow mixed-used development, including houses and shops.

Aging baby boomers are sparking new projects for senior care centers.

A Chicago developer recently submitted plans for a 300-unit senior living center off Interstate 270 in Gaithersburg. Construction is expected to start later this year with an opening projected for early 2022.