WaPo: D.C. drops Donohoe as developer of Mount Vernon Triangle hotel

Jonathan O’Connell of the Washington Post’s Capital Business column reports that the District has dropped Donohoe Development as the developer of the 5th & Eye RFP site. Donohoe initially promised a 475,000-square-foot project made up of a 261-room Spanish luxury hotel by Meliá Hotels International and a 160-unit apartment building, with housing for artists, and retail space. A spokesperson from Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development’s office said the project will be re-bid later this year.

The public presentations of the original RFPs for 5th & Eye occurred on May 1, 2008. My recap of that meeting was one of my earliest postings after joining the blog. At the time the Donohoe proposal was the most inspired and earned the endorsements of local community organizations and ANC6C. That ultimately led to Donohoe being awarded the RFP in September 2008.

The economic slowdown/housing crisis understandably grinded progress to a halt in 2009 and 2010. However I do feel the total absence in progress by Donohoe in 2011 and 2012 was a damning indicator. Nor did they give us any reason to be optimistic for 2013. Residential buildings on other sites have been flying up the last two years in the Triangle and around the city. Yet all this site got was a parking lot and some lip service about potentially breaking ground in 2014 (six years after the RFP award). So I do agree its time to move on even if that potentially pushes things back a year as we have absolutely no reason to be confident in Donohoe. The Mount Vernon Triangle deserves better.

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