has more than 6,500 hotels across 127 countries and territories. In a portfolio that size, there no doubt are a lot of gems. The company's most meaningful property to date, however, might just be the one it's building in its own backyard: the new Marriott International corporate headquarters and hotel in downtown Bethesda, Md., construction of which commenced yesterday with a special groundbreaking ceremony attended by senior Marriott executives as well as state and local officials.
"We are thrilled to be recommitting ourselves to Maryland and investing in Bethesda," said Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson. "This location places Marriott in the heart of a vigorous, educated and diverse community. We firmly believe downtown Bethesda is a vital economic engine with a very bright future and a great place to call home."
Marriott International began in 1927, when founder John Willard Marriott and his wife, Alice Sheets Marriott, opened a root beer stand in Washington, D.C. The company -- which subsequently expanded into a chain of restaurants before opening its first hotel in 1957 -- has been operating in the Capital Region ever since.
"Montgomery County has been our home for more than 60 years and we take immense pride in this community and in the strong relationships we've developed here," said J.W. Marriott Jr. "From our humble roots as a nine-stool root beer stand in downtown Washington, D.C., to a hospitality company known around the world, we look forward to many more years together as we create a new, 21st century home in downtown Bethesda."
Scheduled to open in 2022, Marriott's new headquarters will feature 785,000 square feet of office space to support approximately 3,500 employees. Designed to LEED Gold standards, it will have a child care center, a fitness center, and a cafeteria, as well as an onsite Marriott hotel that will boast 244 guest rooms and over 8,000 square feet of meeting space, not to mention a coffee shop a rooftop bar and lounge, and a contemporary neighborhood restaurant.
"For over 60 years, Marriott has shown such loyalty and commitment to the future of our state -- infusing more than $430 million into our state economy," said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. "Today we are seeing even more proof, and a shining example, of the incredible progress we are making."
Marriott has resided in its current headquarters 15 minutes outside of downtown Bethesda since 1979. As of 2017, the company supported more than 10,000 jobs throughout Maryland, and approximately 6,100 in Montgomery County alone, making the company one of the county's largest private employers.
"I am thrilled that Marriott chose to celebrate its 90th year in business by selecting Montgomery County for its future headquarters," said Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett. "Today is a special day in the county's economic life. With a clear target and a supremely coordinated bipartisan effort, much was achieved in keeping Marriott in Montgomery County, and success is shared. I may be leaving the scene soon, but I trust Marriott will call Montgomery home for 90 years to come."