WASHINGTON - The Washington Convention Center Authority has selected a new team of underwriters, led by Goldman, Sachs & Co., to manage the sale of $187 million of tax increment financing bonds that will finance a new, a 1,167-room Marriott Marquis Hotel headquarters that will be built across the street from the convention center in downtown Washington.
Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. will serve as co-senior manager on the deal, which WCCA chief financial officer Henry W. Mosley said should come to market in early spring. Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch & Co., and Loop Capital Markets LLC also will be managers on the deal.
Jeff Scruggs, who was involved in the project when he was at UBS Securities LLC, which shuttered its public finance group last year, will still play a major role on it. He is now a managing director at Goldman and runs its public sector banking group. Scruggs previously worked with the District of Columbia on its $535 million Washington Nationals baseball stadium, which used revenue bonds.
Depfa First Albany Securities LLC is financial adviser. Bond counsel is Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, Mosley said.
"In this financial climate, it will be no small feat to secure financing for this ambitious but sorely needed project," said Gregory A. O'Dell, who was named WCCA chief executive officer and general manager last summer.
The hotel project has faced uncertainty over the past few years, with construction being held up by "zoning issues," sources have said.
Mosley said that more recently, volatility in the muni market, as well as the closing of some financial firms' municipal businesses and the shifting of bankers to new jobs, has kept WCCA officials waiting.
"I think there is concern ... and we're waiting, watching, and we've assembled, I think, a very good team," Mosley said. "We'll be meeting with them this week to lay out what we need to do ... see where things are going. But we think it's a doable deal, a deal worth doing, especially in Washington, D.C.," because of the draw the city has to visitors, both nationally and internationally.
Mosley said he is working with Marriott officials on the timing of the bond deal. "Our timing is to be ready when they are ready," he said, adding that he expects it to come to market in April. Construction on the hotel is pegged to begin this summer and it is expected to open in the first quarter of 2012, according to Mosley.
The WCCA had planned to sell the bonds initially in 2007, but was forced to delay the sale following problems tied to the $500 million hotel project. The authority said then that it would come to market last summer, but the deal was again postponed.
The hotel will be located across the street from the Convention Center and will be built by Quadrangle Development, an "established Washington, D.C.-based firm with a successful history in hotel development," WCCA officials said in a news release. The authority and the district are leasing the land to the developer for 99 years.