Owner of DC’s Wardman Park Hotel files for bankruptcy

Wardman Hotel Owner LLC, an affiliate of Pacific Life Insurance Co., has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and has ended its management contract with Marriott International.

The 1,152-room Wardman Park, one of the largest hotels in D.C., opened in 1918, during the Spanish Flu pandemic.

Pacific Life permanently closed the hotel just before filing for bankruptcy protection, and is seeking to sell the property, which could clear the way for the property’s redevelopment.

The Chapter 11 petition was filed Jan. 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

Marriott and Pacific Life have been locked in legal disputes since shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic led to the hotel’s temporary closure in March 2020.

In September, Marriott filed suit in Montgomery County Circuit Court, seeking millions of dollars of working capital from Pacific Life to keep the hotel in operating condition after several requests for support, citing contractual obligations, funds Pacific Life contends it did not have.

In December, a judge issued a ruling in favor of Marriott, directing Pacific Life to provide the funding Marriott had requested.

Marriott’s existing contract to manage the Wardman Park runs through 2029, with a 10-year option after that. Though Pacific Life said in its filing that Wardman Hotel Owner LLC had ended its management contract with Marriott, the petition also seeks court affirmation of its legal right to do so, should Marriott choose to challenge.

JBG Smith relinquished its joint venture ownership with Pacific Life in the hotel in October.

The Wardman Park Hotel, at 2600 Woodley Road Northwest, has been home to political figures, including two U.S. presidents, and various celebrities.

The owner’s bankruptcy filing Monday came the same day that neighboring historic hotel the Omni Shoreham reopened.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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