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Choice Hotels Breaks Ground on New Headquarters

The hotel company plans to move from Silver Spring to Rockville Town Center in 2013.

City, county and state officials joined representatives of the Foulger-Pratt Companies and Choice Hotels International on Tuesday to break ground for the hotel company's new headquarters in Rockville Town Center.

The company, which franchises more than 6,100 hotels worldwide, and its nearly 400 employees from Silver Spring to Rockville when the building’s construction is complete in 2013. The company, which is known for such brands as Comfort Inn, Clarion and Econo Lodge, plans to add 75 employees once it moves to Rockville.

Choice Hotels will occupy more than 130,000 square feet of office space in Rockville Metro Plaza II, which is being constructed by . The Rockville-based development company also will own and manage the building at 121 Rockville Pike, at the corner of Middle Lane near Rockville Town Square and the .

Plans are also in place to build a Cambria Suites hotel across the street from the headquarters. The hotel, expected to accommodate 10,000 stays per year, will be used for employee and franchisee training and community, vendor and hotel developer gatherings.

The entire Rockville City Council, members of the County Council, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), Sen. Jennie M. Forehand (D-Dist. 17) of Rockville and U.S. Rep. Christopher Van Hollen Jr. (D-Dist. 8) of Kensington were among those in attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio was blunt about what Choice Hotels' presence will mean for Rockville: “They’re going to pay taxes,” she said during formal remarks.

Clayton Foulger, principal for Foulger-Pratt, thanked Marcuccio and the City Council for “their support and substantial political investment in the project,” which included $4.3 million in conditional loans and grants from the state, county and city contingent upon Choice Hotels adding jobs at the new headquarters.

“Even in these challenging times, these good people saw clearly and made [a] good choice,” Foulger said.

The poor economic climate is in Choice Hotels’ favor, said company President and CEO Stephen P. Joyce.

“What is a tough economic environment makes for a great opportunity to do something like this,” said Joyce, who credited the company’s “strong balance sheet,” the cheaper cost of construction in a down market and sponsorship from Foulger-Pratt and Wells Fargo.

The move comes after a two-year search for a new headquarters site that included Choice Hotels being wooed by other states.

In the end, the Rockville Metro station across the street and the proximity to  to the restaurants and retail of Rockville Town Square made Town Center an attractive place to be, Joyce said.

“This place just seemed to have it all,” he said. “And we found the exact right project with the exact right partners and we couldn’t be more pleased with the final decision.”

In addition to bringing new tax revenue to the city, Choice Hotels is “a commercial operation, it’s a foundation group, it’s going to be here a long time,” Marcuccio said in an interview after the ceremony.

Clarification: The seventh paragraph of this article has been changed from the original version to clarify that the financial package was offered to Choice Hotels by the city, county and state.

Will August 31, 2011 at 11:20 AM
This is a big win for Rockville.
Tim Fahey August 31, 2011 at 12:16 PM
I'm not sure who gets the better part of the deal, Rockville or Choice Hotels. It's a classic win-win.
Joseph Jordan August 31, 2011 at 12:39 PM
It is my understanding the County and State kicked in about $4.5M and the City, about $1.5M in incentives/credits. Where did you get the figure for the City you quote above?
Jeff Hawkins August 31, 2011 at 01:09 PM
A really good thing for Rockville proper, it's going to help those business's alot. The Mayor's comment of “They’re going to pay taxes,” was unfortunate, not really the time and place........
Piotr Gajewski August 31, 2011 at 01:40 PM
The County total incentive is $3,731,577. The largest part of the City incentive consists of use of parking spaces in the City garage (which are presently going unused). This is not out of pocket, and given that FRIT will now be collecting all garage revenue, one could argue that the incentive is really provided by FRIT, not the City (as part of FRIT/City deal, FRIT must honor the Choice/City deal). The remainder of the City component of the incentive is $660,000. Three votes were required to move forward with this deal and were provided by me, Councilmember Britton and Councilmember Pierzchala. Councilmember Newton abstained from voting. The Mayor cast the only vote against this deal.
Jeff Hawkins August 31, 2011 at 02:01 PM
Piotr, I must have missed it. Do you know why the Mayor voted against it and why Newton abstained?.........I know you can't speak for them..........just curious why?
Piotr Gajewski August 31, 2011 at 03:14 PM
Jeff, I was present for the closed session discussion and do not recall Mayor Marcuccio stating why she was voting against this deal. I am also not aware of her every saying anything about this in public. Likewise, I do not know why Councilmember Newton abstained. I feel that it is important for the City to partner with the County on creating and keeping jobs in Rockville. Also, as the Mayor pointed out, Choice is “going to pay taxes.” But the benefit to Rockville is so much more. The hundreds of employees working in the new building will also patronize the many Town Center businesses, for example. I hope that the press follows up with Mayor Marcuccio to find out why she was against this. Meanwhile, I am pleased that she did not prevail.
Jeff Hawkins August 31, 2011 at 03:45 PM
Piotr, Thank you for your reply. I must admit I'm kind of shocked that "anybody" would vote against this. I would really like to hear a justification of a "no" or even "abstaining" vote. In my way of thinking, just saying "they are going to pay taxes" was almost "insulting"....at least I know if I worked for Choice Hotels I would have taken it that way. I'm disappointed in the Mayor for that comment. I really believe this is going to be a very helpful event for Rockville. To have a really nice Hotel in downtown Rockville is fantastic. Historically speaking, there almost always has been a hotel in the downtown Rockville area. Even Chestnut Lodge at one time was a Hotel. Anyway, this a great thing for Rockville and I do appreciate your backing of this and also helping to keep us all informed. You are upfront and out here answering people's questions and that means alot. Thank you
Theresa Defino August 31, 2011 at 04:03 PM
I'm not certain plans are finalized for the hotel. And what was the outcome of the naming issue?
Piotr Gajewski August 31, 2011 at 04:19 PM
Theresa, The hotel plans are moving forward (part of the big coup). Referring to the "naming issue,” I assume you mean the proposal to rename Middle Lane (to a name that included the word “Choice” in it). This was at one time wrongly reported to be a consideration in the deal with Choice. The reality is that, in Rockville, renaming a street is not in the purview of the City Council (great little system we have here to depoliticize such things). Choice proposed the renaming to the Planning Commission (where the decision rests), and the Commission nixed the idea.
Theresa Defino August 31, 2011 at 04:51 PM
Great news. Thanks for the update.
Joseph Jordan August 31, 2011 at 05:43 PM
Piotr, thanks for the info on incentives and credits. I imagine the garage deal benefits F-P as much as anyone, since it probably eliminates some construction costs if the spaces are "credited" to the required number of spaces for the new building. There must be some value tied to the garage deal, do you know what it is, and what the breakdown of the $660K City component is?
Will August 31, 2011 at 05:47 PM
Will there be any new retail shops in either the new office building or the plans for the hotel?
Sean R. Sedam August 31, 2011 at 05:59 PM
Thanks for pointing this out. The article should have made it clear that the incentives were being provided by the city, county and state. I've changed it to reflect that. The $4.3 million figure was quoted by the state in a news release issued after Choice Hotels signed a letter of intent to move to Rockville in October. We reported it at that time: http://rockville.patch.com/articles/choice-hotels-international-headquarters-moving-to-rockville The same release with details of the deal was distributed at yesterday's groundbreaking.
Joseph Jordan August 31, 2011 at 06:22 PM
Thanks, Sean. It does beg the question, what was different in March of this year versus October of last year? The $4.3M was quoted then and yesterday. How much detail was in the information released yesterday?
Sean R. Sedam August 31, 2011 at 06:27 PM
There wasn't much detail. Here's the release that was issued in October and also distributed yesterday: http://www.governor.maryland.gov/pressreleases/101025.asp
Online addict September 01, 2011 at 08:38 PM
Am I the only who notices the comments of Jeff, Piotr and Theresa seem to flow through every article in the Patch in a timed question and answer rhythm that appears rehearsed, yet stilted. With constant jabs at the current mayor being crucial in each and every article, I would almost think the campaign was being run in these comments.
Theresa Defino September 02, 2011 at 05:23 AM
Joe, if you knew me you'd know I'm a serial commenter and very active in Rockville (and state) politics, and been involved in many campaigns and issues. I've lived here for 11 years. There's no rehearsal, no coordination, and I have never even met Jeff Hawkins or communicated directly. It's easy to track comments on Patch. I don't comment on every article, and the ones I do aren't always about city politics. You might remember insulting me on the abortion protest thread and going head-to-head-on stories regarding Dr. Starr's new home. Neither of those stories were about Councilmember Gajewski or featured any comments by him, as I recall. I also comment on Wheaton Patch, and have been quoted in articles there, if you keep up with that, because for the last year I have been representing Edison High School in the modernization project with Wheaton High School. I have been quoted in the Gazette as well, as I have testified before the Mayor and Council on a number of issues over the years, including the skatepark, affordable housing and Redgate, as well as before the Board of Education on Edison. I have stated openly that i am supporting Councilmember Gajewski for mayor and I think what I post is informational. Nothing is keeping the mayor from responding (her former campaign manager Joe Jordan often does). Feel free to google me. That's why I use my full name. What strikes me as a little odd is why someone from Bethesda spends so much time on Rockville Patch.
Online addict September 02, 2011 at 12:12 PM
Theresa...I have never commented or insulted you or anyone else on the abortion issue! That is a vitriolic argument that no sane person would touch on a format such as the Patch! Please refrain from making such vitriolic statements trying to make you sound like the victim! You seem to have a problem understanding why a Bethesda person goes to the Rockville Patch???? I lived in Rockville for 20+ years, I have relatives who still live there, I visit the local public golf course there. I owned a home in Rockville. I have guests at my house in Bethesda who come from Rockville, I have a cleaning service that comes from Rockville, I have teachers at my public school who come from Rockville. I live in Montgomery County, in which Rockville resides. I live in the State of Maryland, in which Rockille resides. My State and County taxes fund expenses in Bethesda, Rockville and other places! I am connected to Rockville in more ways that you can imagine! I comment often and visit all the Patch sites in Maryland and throughout the country. I am a US citizen concerned about many things. Now, back to the insults, I ask that you contact the editors of the Patch and find the abortion insult you have claimed, you will not find one quote, comment, or message from me on the argument and I am "SHOCKED" that you would claim such an atrocity!
Jeff Hawkins September 02, 2011 at 12:31 PM
Joe, Not sure if you remember or not, but I totally DISAGREED with Piotr on his proposal to close Redgate, we bounced back and forth many a comment. As for the Hotel being being built in Rockville..........I happen to AGREE with Piotr. Frankly my position on issues come from the issues themselves and NOT because I happen to like a certain candidate and their stance, I'm not a blind partisan. Theresa Defino and I have NOT agreed on a variety of subjects.........on this one we do.........ain't America great! I did comment that I was disappointed with the Mayor on her vote, I think that's not just my right to do so, but everybody's. At the same time it doesn't mean I'm not going to vote for her, also agreeing with Piotr doesn't mean I'm going to vote for either. Personally I believe a persons voting history should be private, I would never say whom I'm going to vote for on the Internet, but that's just my warped way of thinking. Now....pardon me Joe................I'm off to meet with Piotr and Theresa to practice for our next article response.....
Theresa Defino September 02, 2011 at 04:02 PM
You're right. It was Jeff. Here's just one comment. I apologize to you. However, it shows your suspicion about collusion is baseless, and I'm just going to leave it at that. I am a very busy person, have a job to do, etc. I do ask that you refrain from singling out me on this site, and questioning my motives for commenting. Thank you. Jeff Hawkins 9:02am on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 Theresa's comment: "I also give no credence to men in this debate at all--unless you're a physician. Most of these anti-abortion protesters are retired upper income white men who never had to face a decision about birth control, let alone abortion. Please go golfing, sir," WOW..........how utterly insensitive and hateful.
Online addict September 06, 2011 at 02:26 PM
Theresa I will accept your apology but I want to point out that it is not the first time you have wrongly accused me of heinous responses and nefarious actions. My comments here single you out only based on comments you have made, I accept the collusion issue here may be off base but when you comment on items you must be willing to be involved in the debate, ergo you have singled yourself out and have decided to join the discussion. Which begs we to ask why you threw out Joe Jordan's name? (Somewhere a black kettle must be simmering....) In the past, you also accused me of calling Piotr a CLOWN, I do not know if he or is not a clown, but the response you referred to involved RedGate Golf Course, and me referring to Piotr as Flat Stanley. Piotr knew the significance of the comment, and took no offense, actually liking the character associtaion. Not sure why you chimed in on that one, but you did, you made a bad assumption and we moved on. So please, if you comment, and someone responds, it is not someone singling you out. Gibbs rule #40 is often counteracted by rule #51. And if you are involved in so many discussions, it is your responsibility to track the negative comments accurately so as not to demean the wrong person. And in closing, I am the man the you commonly refer to as "not being from Rockville," but I do love Rockville and I do have the right to offer insight and I do try to debate in a cordial manner.
Theresa Defino September 06, 2011 at 03:40 PM
Joe, I've never debated your right to express yourself only the frequency of the Rockville-related comments. Heinous and nefarious? LOL. On the question of my apology--I suggest you need to get a bit of a thicker skin on comments. Having been called vicious, angry, mentally ill, accused of having guilt over my "abortion" (never had one) in a comment I had removed, I would say to you they're not worth keeping track of. The clown comment is not how you presented it but I will not debate this with you. Facts matter. Personal opinions, not so much. I'm clearly a favorite target of yours and some others who want to make everything personal. You do so without me. Moving on with real life...
Jeff Hawkins September 06, 2011 at 04:36 PM
Theresa, Respectfully.....on the subject of attacking people or a group of people you do a pretty fair job of that yourself. I think it's fair to say that "we all do it" (myself included) and it's also fair to say that "we all deny doing it". Just an observation here, but telling someone that they need a "thicker skin" concerning comments and then in the next sentence stating that you had a comment "removed" and that they are not worth keeping track of in the first place sounds kind of conflicting with your statement about someone needing "thicker skin". It appears that you keep a pretty good "scorecard". You are correct....facts matter. As for personal opinions.......well if they don't matter, then all of these comments on this and any other website...........don't really matter or not very much and maybe they don't? You are NOT a target and never will be.....at least not from me. We may agree or disagree on subjects and in the grand scheme of things...........who really gives a hoot anyway?
Theresa Defino September 06, 2011 at 06:39 PM
@Jeff--That's not the reason the comment was removed. The passage contained other text that violated Patch's comment policy.
Jeff Hawkins September 06, 2011 at 11:20 PM
Theresa, OK......I guess that's a "fine line" there.
Bridget Hannan August 22, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Jeff- I was wondering if you knew how to apply for a job for this property. I am highly interested!

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