The 250,000-square-foot hotel would replace plans for a much bigger, 33-story office tower Zell had been considering developing for potential lease to federal agencies such as the NSF. Zell was among the bidders for the science foundation. In an interview, Zell CEO Jeff Zell told me he believes the agency’s planned move will be a significant benefit to Alexandria. If he can’t be it’s landlord, the next best thing would be to rent rooms to the agency’s out-of-town visitors.
Zell plans to pitch the idea to city leaders next week since it represents a shift in the makeup of the planned 1.4 million-square-foot development. But he said the property’s zoning allows for the option of building a hotel instead of an office building on part of the land at 760 and 765 John Carlyle St. It is a short walk down Eisenhower Avenue from there to the NSF’s new home at Hoffman Town Center.
“I think they’ll be receptive because it’s an important part of having them down there,” Zell said. “I think it’s the right thing to match up with NSF’s needs.”
Zell said he would still be open to developing Carlyle Plaza Two as an office building if the right tenant surfaces. If not, he estimates a hotel at the site could be timed to open as the NSF and its 2,100 workers start settling into their new offices.