Construction of Bethesda Westin Hotel to Begin in 12 to 16 Months

Construction of Bethesda Westin Hotel to Begin in 12 to 16 Months

Developer has made changes to plans for project

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Rendering of plans for a Westin Hotel between Wisconsin and Woodmont avenues in Bethesda

The Bernstein Companies

Groundbreaking for the long-awaited Westin Hotel in Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle neighborhood will start in 12 to 16 months.

The 12-story hotel will be built on the site of the Connor Building, a two-story retail and office building between Wisconsin and Woodmont avenues. Current tenants include a Smoothie King and Kabob Bazaar. All the tenants will be out by August, according to Greg Rooney, vice president of The Bernstein Companies, the developer of the project.

The building will be demolished this fall and construction on the hotel will start next spring or summer, he said.

Rooney said plans for the building have changed some. The developer considered and then scrapped the idea of building 13 luxury condominiums on top of the hotel, and instead has decided to add another floor of hotel rooms. The hotel will now have 240 rooms, about 30 more than originally planned, Rooney said.

In addition, the rooms will be smaller and the ceiling heights lower, he said.

The tweaks have made the project “much more efficient” and have increased the likelihood that it will be financially successful, Rooney said. Under the original plans, “it was much more of a luxury project,” he said.

The company decided not to build the condos because they would have “added a new level of [financial] risk,” Rooney said.

The Connor Building is set for demolition this fall. Credit: Aaron Kraut

Rooney said it was unclear whether the planned changes would require additional approvals by Montgomery County.

The hotel will feature an entire floor of event space, including a ballroom and retail space and restaurants on the ground floor.

Meanwhile, Bernstein’s plans to build an 11-story Class A office building next to the Westin remain on hold due to lack of demand. “There’s no timing for the office building,” Rooney said. “We would need a pre-lease before we built it.”

The office building is planned for the current site of the Bethesda Court Hotel, which Bernstein owns. As a result of the delay, the hotel will continue to operate for the foreseeable future, Rooney said.

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