- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 26, 2003

The Renaissance Mayflower Hotel is giving its rooms a timeless makeover.

The 660-room, 10-floor hotel on Connecticut Avenue in Northwest is undergoing a $9 million renovation beginning in January.

The rooms will get new furniture, bedding and accessories to add a more residential feel, said Christian J. Mari, general manager of the 78-year-old property.

The modernized rooms will incorporate some of the existing furniture with new, contemporary pieces. The hotel’s 76 suites will include a plasma TV mounted on the wall. The eighth floor will be transformed into the “Club Floor,” complete with a lounge and a concierge service designated for frequent travelers.

“If you don’t redo your hotel, your investment deteriorates,” Mr. Mari said. “You have to keep your investment current.”

Work will be performed on two floors at a time. All the rooms are expected to be complete by midsummer.

Mr. Mari said the rooms, which were last remodeled in 1992, were in need of an overhaul, particularly as competition in the industry heated up.

“When you spend that kind of sophisticated money, you need to find out what will make you competitive,” Mr. Mari said.

In addition to the $9 million room renovations, the hotel will revamp its 2,400-square-foot Town and Country Lounge this year during the week of Thanksgiving. The lobby will be renovated by the end of next year, and the hotel’s meeting rooms will be renovated in late 2004 and early 2005.

Hotel officials won’t disclose the additional costs of the lounge, lobby and meeting rooms.

New sports store

City Sports is moving into the District with two new locations.

The Boston-based speciality sports retailer will open its first D.C. store in mid-December. The 8,000-square-foot store, which will have about 30 employees, will be located on 19th Street between L and M streets in Northwest. The chain’s second location will open in April at Gallery Place next to the MCI Center.

The company, which targets metropolitan adult athletes, has nine stores in Boston, New York and Philadelphia. Co-founder Mike Kennedy said the company had been looking to open stores in the District since the 1990s but was waiting for the right time to enter the market.

“We’ve always loved Washington as an athletically conscious city that’s perfect for our concept and core demographic customer,” he said.

Retail rummage

• The first retailer has opened at the historic Hechinger building at 4500 Wisconsin Ave. in Northwest. The 50,000-square-foot Best Buy, which opened Friday, is part of a $95 million project to turn the vacant building into a mixed-use property with retail, residential units and 320 parking spaces. The property will have a 26,000-square-foot Container Store, scheduled to open in March, and another 12,000 square feet of retail space. The 209 residential units are expected to be complete by next fall.

• Office Depot opened its second store in the District last week. The 8,000-square-foot location, which has about 40 employees, is at 2000 K St. in Northwest. Office Depot has 20 stores in the Washington market.

Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884.Retail and Hospitality appears every other Monday.

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