More big changes are coming to downtown Bethesda.  First,  Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval  were merged in a consolidation of military hospitals, creating a continual traffic jam on Wisconsin Avenue in front of the new Walter Reed.  Now, Marriott International is moving to downtown Bethesda from their location on Democracy Boulevard.  Marriott broke ground Thursday on their $600 million headquarters in downtown Bethesda, scheduled to open in mid-2022.  Governor Larry Hogan and Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett joined J.W. Marriott, Jr. at the groundbreaking celebration Thursday.

“We are firmly committed to creating a business-friendly environment in Maryland for global companies and will remain focused on innovative and common sense ways to further economic expansion in the state,” said Governor Hogan. “Marriott International’s decision to build a new, state-of-the-art headquarters in Bethesda further proves the advantages of world-class companies calling Maryland home.”

Marriott International President and Chief Executive Officer, Arne Sorenson, pushed Marriott’s move from its current suburban location to a walkable, transit-oriented environment.

“We are thrilled to be recommitting ourselves to Maryland and investing in Bethesda,” said Sorenson. “This location places Marriott in the heart of a vigorous, educated, and diverse community. We firmly believe downtown Bethesda is a vital economic engine with a very bright future and a great place to call home.”

Sorenson said the headquarters office building will be a cutting-edge, sustainable, workplace offering state-of-the-art technology, modern amenities, and easy access to a range of transportation options, including the Bethesda Metro Station less than two blocks away. With more than 785,000 square feet of office space to support approximately 3,500 associates, the headquarters building is designed to LEED GOLD standards, allowing an abundance of natural light, while providing new opportunities for flexible, collaborative workspaces.

The campus will also offer Marriott associates a childcare center, a fitness center, and a cafeteria. In addition to the headquarters building, the location will also be home to a new Marriott Hotel, a 244-key, full-service property with more than 8,000 square feet of meeting and ballroom space. The hotel will also offer guests and the public access to a coffee shop, a roof-top bar and lounge and a contemporary neighborhood restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with the option of outdoor dining on a pedestrian plaza.

The Bernstein Companies and Boston Properties own the site for the new headquarters and will jointly develop and own the Marriott International headquarters office building while The Bernstein Companies will build and own the adjacent hotel. Marriott will manage both the office building and the hotel. In December 2017, the developers received formal approval of the sketch, preliminary and site plans from the Montgomery County Planning Board.