For those of a certain age, the word “Watergate” typically conjures memories of political scandal, seemingly endless Senate hearings and courtroom procedures, and the inglorious departure of an outgoing President from the White House lawn.
In recent, “Watergate”—at least the hotel portion of the 10-acre complex adjacent to the Potomac River—has come to epitomize the vagaries of the recession-plagued real estate market, sitting empty since 2008 while a series of prospective buyers and revival strategies came and went.
Now, it seems, “Watergate” is just months away from regaining its stature as one of DC’s high-end hotels thanks to a $125 million renovation of the 12-story, 277,000 sq ft building underway by New York City-based Euro Capital Properties, which paid $45 million to purchase the now-50 year old building in 2010.
The makeover, which began last spring, includes revamping upping the number of guest rooms from 220 to more than 340; refreshing interior spaces with new finishes, millwork, and elevators; improvements to walls, roofing, and waterproofing, and adding a rooftop lounge, guest recreation and social amenities, an expanded grand ballroom, and 17,000 sq ft of event and meeting space—something the original hotel had very little of.
Should the hotel reopen as scheduled this summer, its guests will be staying in close proximity to many of the nation’s political movers and shakers occupying units in the complex’s three coop apartment buildings, and the various organizations that occupy the building’s 198,000-sq ft office portion. That’s where the Democratic National Committee’s offices were located when burglars were discovered replacing a malfunctioning phone tap on June 17, 1972, beginning the unraveling on a Presidency, and consigning the name “Watergate” (and all subsequent “-gate” scandals) to infamy.