Credit: Photo by Steve Hull

Construction on the new Marriott International world headquarters and hotel in downtown Bethesda has been temporarily suspended after two employees of a subcontractor tested positive for coronavirus disease.

The massive site is now being deep cleaned by a firm “specializing in biohazard cleanup,” according to a statement provided to Bethesda Beat by Hensel Phelps, the general contractor for the headquarters and adjacent Marriott hotel.

“It was reported to us yesterday [Wednesday] that two subcontractors working on the 7750 Wisconsin Avenue site have tested positive for COVID-19,” the statement said. “Following protocol, these two individuals left the site more than a week ago after experiencing flu-like symptoms.”

Hensel Phelps said construction was halted as a “precaution” and work is expected to resume on Monday.

The statement said Hensel Phelps has “proactively added additional plumbed handwashing and sanitizing stations, increased frequency of cleaning and engaged with a healthcare team to monitor the wellness of workers.”

Marriott is proceeding with plans to move its headquarters in 2022 from its current location on Fernwood Road in Bethesda to the new downtown site between Wisconsin and Woodmont Avenues.


The project includes a 785,000-square-foot, 22-story office building, an adjacent 244-room, 12-story hotel and a plaza spanning the two buildings, according to the company.

The Bernstein Companies and Boston Properties are building the offices and the hotel.

The Bernstein Companies will own the buildings and has a management agreement with Marriott to manage the hotel, according to Kris Warner of Maier & Warner, speaking on behalf of Marriott.


Marriott is issuing furloughs to about two-thirds of its approximately 4,000 headquarters staff, as of this month. Overall, it is furloughing “tens of thousands” of employees throughout the company, Marriott has said.