Navigating Access, Acceptance, & Progress for the Mega-Scale, Multi-Use National Harbor

Executives at The Peterson Companies, developers of National Harbor, a 300-acre waterfront complex set along the Potomac River in Prince George’s County, Maryland, had a vision to create a unique and historic venue in the State of Maryland. A new Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, touted as “the largest non-gaming hotel and convention center on the Eastern Seaboard” would be the jewel of this upscale multi-use development.

This ten year project would involve a complex process to develop 4,000 hotel rooms; a 470,000 square foot Gaylord National Convention Center; 1 million square feet of retail, dining and entertainment venues; a 500,000 square foot class “A” office space; 2,500 residential units; a 3 pier marina; and over 10,000 on-site parking spaces.

The behind-the-scenes-mechanics to enable a project of this magnitude to progress beyond 300 bare acres required facilitation, access and support at numerous Prince George’s County government, legislative, utility and department levels. Capital Legislative Solutions was one of the few firms selected by The Peterson Companies to help navigate the waters which, at the initial stages, were rocky. Some community activists, civic groups and elected officials viewed the development with trepidation. Capital Legislative Solutions secured meetings with key County leaders, presenting the National Harbor concept, detailing the economic and quality of life benefits the County would realize. Capital Legislative Solutions implemented a community awareness campaign, to inform concerned residents and activists on the project features, benefits and proposed process. Ultimately, the strategic plans implemented by Capital Legislative Solutions garnered widespread support, and legislation was passed in supporting the development of National Harbor.

In addition, the project would require public financing in excess of 150 million dollars in bonds to build the necessary infrastructure, such as roads. Capital Legislative Solutions worked with The Peterson Companies to develop a comprehensive financing strategy which County officials supported as a solid investment in the County, demonstrated by the County’s securing the required bonds.

Finally, with plans for restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues, National Harbor needed to obtain liquor licenses. Capital Legislative Solutions assisted this effort with a results-oriented strategy highlighting the tax revenue gains the County would realize with increased consumer visits and spending at National Harbor. The implemented strategy provided the needed approval for the liquor licenses.