Marriott seeks aid to remain in Md.; Company requests $51 million in state incentives; Corporations


Marriott International Inc. is seeking $51 million from the state to maintain its headquarters in Maryland, lawmakers in Annapolis have been told.

The company, which employs more than 3,700 at its Bethesda headquarters, says it intends to decide between sites in Maryland and Virginia for a new base by the end of March.

But Richard C. Mike Lewin, secretary of the state's Department of Business and Economic Development, said the state has yet to finalize an offer of financial incentives to Marriott because the agency is still analyzing data provided by the hotel giant.

This month, state and Montgomery County officials presented a preliminary-incentives offer to Marriott valued at roughly $35 million.

"We're trying to put forth an offer that works for both the state of Maryland and Marriott," Lewin said last night. "Marriott is in a special category, because they are a headquarters company with a premier reputation for excellence. I'm optimistic."

He declined to comment on Marriott's request, which was presented in response to a question from Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell, a Baltimore County Democrat, at the end of a Senate Finance Committee briefing Wednesday afternoon. Bromwell is chairman of the committee.

The state's final offer, to be completed by early next week, is likely to include tax credits, grants and potential transportation improvements. The DBED offer is contingent on approval from state lawmakers.

"We're not commenting on any numbers," said Nicholas A. Hill, a Marriott spokesman.

He said, though, that the company "appreciates the support" provided by the state and county, and described meetings with state officials -- including Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Montgomery County Executive Douglas Duncan -- as "productive."

Marriott, which has had its headquarters in the same location for more than two decades, projects it will hire up to 750 new headquarters workers by 2004. The company's lease on the six-story building expires in 2004.

Pub Date: 1/22/99

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