Council hears objection to subsidizing Marriott International Headquarters

ROCKVILLE – After Marriott executives announced they would keeping their International Headquarters in the County and would move to downtown Bethesda, County Council members said they are considering spending $11 million to help fund the project.

Money for the project would come from the recently passed recordation tax premium and would be designated for planning, infrastructure design and construction cost for Marriott’s newly proposed $500 million in downtown Bethesda, according to County Executive Ike Leggett.

“Regrettably this is a fundamental tenet of economic development these days, so these issues come up, people could say that about just about everything we do, ‘You shouldn't do this, you should do something else.’ But I think the council is united in cutting the deal with Marriott and it’s great to have the partnership of the state here,” said Council member Nancy Floreen (D-At large).

On Tuesday, members from the Montgomery County Green Party spoke out against the $11 million proposed subsidy to Marriott.

“I understand why smaller businesses and start up might need a governmental boost, but why does Marriott need yet another sweetheart deal,” said Mary Rooker, a former chair of the local political party.

The state of Maryland is also contributing an additional $22 million, which will be paid directly to Marriott.

The funds come after Marriott executives announced in October they would be staying in the County by moving their corporate headquarter from its current location at 10400 Fernwood Road in Bethesda to a $500 million, 700,000-square foot office building in downtown Bethesda by 2022.

The specific location in downtown Bethesda will be determined in 2017.

The money from the County for Marriott will come from the County’s Recordation Tax Premium, which was unanimously passed by the County Council in May with the justification the money would be spent on school improvements as well as infrastructure.

“A portion of that was always for County capital improvements as well, not just schools,” said Floreen.

The County is projected to collect an additional $200 million over the next six years from the increase in the recordation tax premium. The County is giving Marriott $11 million, approximately one third of the increased yearly projected revenue from the recordation tax premium.

“It kind of amazes me that there is a $11 million give away to a multi-billion dollar corporation for essential no new jobs or much in the way of infrastructure for the citizens that are going to be paying these taxes and giving the company this money,” said Jon Cook, who said he remarks were the “official Green Party response.”

According to County officials, the deal with Marriott will keep 3,500 jobs in the County.



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