image: Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. Marriott International.
The County Executive of Montgomery County has made a special request in order to get ahead of what could become a massive problem for the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center.
Officially known as the Montgomery County Conference Center to the County, the facility is operated by Bethesda-based Marriott International and is jointly owned by the County and the State of Maryland. It acts as the main conference center for County conventions and is located at the corner of Executive Boulevard and Marinelli Road in the vicinity of Pike and Rose.
The conference center opened in 2004 to much fanfare from government officials. According to documentation from the County Executive, the center has always been profitable for the County with contributions to the General Fund ranging between $1.4 million to $1.9 million.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown, there’s great concern that the center could report its first operating loss. The Conference Center has been out of operation since the mandate to close businesses was enacted by Governor Larry Hogan and Executive Elrich. All meetings have been canceled through at least August and the Conference Center has had to dip into its general fund expected to last only through the end of July.
Elrich has requested $1.5 million to support the Center with the expectation that the funds will be enough to last it through its fiscal year. The monies would be dispersed on a monthly or quarterly basis.
The County Executive is aiming for the Center to return to full operations in October and is confident it will return to profitability. But many employees have already been laid-off and the facility is working with a bare-bones crew. According to layoff a notification filed with the State, as many as 230 people working for the Conference Center and Hotel have already been let go.