Boutique hotel brand citizenM is coming to D.C. The chain, which has most of its hotels in Europe, will supply the flag for a new hotel planned for 555 E St. SW, according to to the developers of the site.
The project includes a 252-room citizenM and a 194-unit apartment building, according to E Street Development Group LLC, a partnership that includes CityPartners LLC and Potomac Investment Properties Inc.
CitizenM’s hotel will be across the street from another hotel the developer opened next door in 2015, the Hyatt Place National Mall at 400 E St. SW. The two properties were always part of the same development; E Street won the rights to develop the D.C.-owned parcels back in 2009, and began work in earnest on the project in 2013. The first phase included a new fire station for the District’s Engine Co. 13, which was built under the Hyatt Place.
E Street’s original plan called for a 305,000-square-foot office building in the second phase, however. Later, as the Hyatt Place neared opening, City Partners said it was considering a number of options: another hotel, some residential, maybe a couple of floors of office.
When it opens, this will be one of the first citizenM hotels in the U.S. The first one opened in New York in the heart of Times Square in 2014, and others are in the works for Seattle, the Bowery in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The chain, which bills itself as “low-cost luxury,” capitalizes on the trend of shrinking hotel rooms with large, multipurpose lobby spaces where guests spend much more of their time. The rooms are small, but feature free Wi-Fi, on-demand movies, free bottled water and kiosk check-in.
They also come with a big boost in style compared to other budget hospitality options — although that has been changing in recent years. Founder Rattan Chadha, a former fashion industry executive, told Inc. in 2014 that he was aiming for “great style for a price a 25-year-old designer could afford. That concept existed in fashion but not in hotels.”
Many of the legacy hotel brands are trying to bridge that gap: Marriott brands like Moxy and AC by Marriott, Hilton’s Canopy by Hilton and Tru, for example.
The D.C. location will have a rooftop venue, fitness area and yoga studio and an open work space in the lobby with iMac computers for communal use. The architect is Fxfowle Architects of New York City and the interior design comes from concrete, an Amsterdam-based firm.
The citizenM is perched just between the National Mall and the new Wharf development on the other side of the Southeast-Southwest Freeway, adding to the growing number of attractions in Southwest. The International Spy Museum aims to open on L’Enfant Plaza in 2018, and the Museum of the Bible sits just two blocks from the Hyatt Place. The Wharf will also have three hotels when it opens Oct. 12, with another boutique hotel planned for its second phase.