- The Washington Times - Monday, November 25, 2002

The Madison Hotel closed yesterday to undergo a massive six-month overhaul. It is the first time the 353-room hotel, named for former President James Madison, has had major work done since opening 40 years ago.
The $30 million restoration includes renovated rooms, modernized meeting space, a new energy-efficient, state-of-the-art heating and air conditioning system, and technology-savvy upgrades.
"The Madison is a Washington institution," said Dave Pollin, president of the Buccini/Pollin Group, which owns the hotel and adjoining office building with Monument Realty.
The 95,000-square-foot office building, which is about 50 percent leased, also will undergo renovation.
Mr. Pollin said construction costs will reach about $13 million for the hotel, $3 million for the office building and $2 million for the parking garage, which is believed to be the site of the "Deep Throat" meetings during the Watergate scandal. The remaining cost will cover all the other additions to the hotel, including carpeting, bedding and fixtures.
The hotel, at the intersection of 15th and M streets in Northwest, officially closed yesterday. Mr. Pollin estimates it will lose about $15 million in revenue while it is shut.
For now, about 150 Madison employees are out of jobs.
But Greg Miller, president and chief operating officer of PM Hospitality Strategies Inc., which manages the hotel, says the company is taking care of employees who stay. Some have been transferred to other company properties in the area, while others will receive stipends, continued health benefits and $3,000 bonuses if they return to the hotel when it reopens.
About 100 employees say they will return, Mr. Miller said. The hotel will need 225 employees.
The hotel is scheduled to open in the summer, with the official grand opening in the fall.

Five Guys multiplying
Five Guys, the Northern Virginia five-location hamburger chain, is planning to expand to at least 50 more restaurants in the next five years.
The family-run business, which started in 1987, is searching for regional developers to open and operate locations throughout Maryland and the District. In addition, Five Guys will expand further in Northern Virginia with at least 20 company-owned restaurants, said Jerry Murrell, who started the business with his wife, Janie , and five sons, who range from 15 to 35.
The District is likely to get the first new restaurant, which should open in the next three months to a year, said Sam Chamberlain, vice president of Fransmart, an Alexandria company that is organizing and managing the regional expansion. Each restaurant is about 2,000 square feet and seats about 60 customers.

Open for business
Maytag is letting customers test-drive its appliances at a new store in Sterling. The 7,000-square-foot Maytag Store features a full line of appliances that customers can try out. For example, they can examine how grass stains come out of clothing or see firsthand how a three-rack dishwasher works. Maytag has 16 more of the stores around the country.
Plato's Closet, a national chain of resale clothes for teenagers, has opened its first store in the Washington metropolitan area. The franchise store, which carries "gently-worn" name brands at discounted prices, opened in Fairfax on Thursday. Two Plato's Closet stores are in the Baltimore area, and one is in Richmond.

Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884 or at [email protected] Retail & Hospitality appears every other Monday.

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