Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal said Monday local officials plan to “work very aggressively” to keep Marriott International in the county.

“Of course we want to keep them in Montgomery County and their announcement [Monday] will kick off very active negotiations,” said Leventhal, responding to a Washington Post report that Marriott plans to leave its Bethesda headquarters in the coming years.

Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson told the Post the company will remain in the Washington, D.C., region, but that it wants to find a location more appealing to young workers.

“The company started here,” Leventhal said. “Let’s hope they stay. We certainly want to create a favorable climate for them. The county is going to work very aggressively to keep them here. There’s going to be very active negotiations.”

About 2,000 people work at Marriott’s Fernwood Road headquarters. Its lease at the office park expires in 2022, the Post reports, and Sorenson has begun discussing relocation options with local leaders.

“It’s time to start thinking about it,” Sorenson said. “We’ve got almost a million square feet in Bethesda. Obviously you can’t decide one month you’re going to move one million square feet worth of office and move the next month. This is something that’s going to take some years to get worked out.”


Marriott’s upcoming move is part of a trend, the Post says, of corporate centers leaving suburban office parks for urban addresses as young employees seek more urban lifestyles. The Marriott headquarters is about 3 miles from the nearest Metro stop.

“I think it’s essential we be accessible to Metro and that limits the options,” Sorenson told the Post. “I think, as with many other things, our younger folks are more inclined to be Metro-accessible and more urban. That doesn’t necessarily mean we will move to downtown Washington, but we will move someplace.”

Sally Sternbach, acting director of the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development, told the Post the county would try to keep Marriott in Montgomery County.


“Accessibility is important and amenities are important,” she said. “And, yes, we will try to work with them on both and put them where they feel they will get a good return for that.”

Montgomery County Planning Commission Chairman Casey Anderson responded to the news on his Facebook page on Monday.

“Like more and more employers, Marriott recognizes that the people it wants to recruit and retain are not excited about the idea of spending most of their waking hours in a suburban office park—which is why it’s a good thing we’re creating great urban places that can compete with any jurisdiction in the region,” he wrote.


County Council member Hans Riemer said he was optimistic Marriott would stay somewhere in Montgomery County. “I think there are plenty of options they’ll find here. It’s a company that has a lot of history here in the county and I think they’ll want to stay,” he said.

Competitors like Hilton Worldwide, Choice Hotels and DiamondRock Hospitality also call the Washington area home.