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Disney Sails Past National Harbor

Magic Kingdom backs out of hotel development in Prince George’s County.

What was once billed as Disney’s first resort in the Washington region and a boon to National Harbor in Prince George’s County is no more. The company has backed out of plans to build a hotel at the Oxon Hill development.

Late last week, Disney announced it was pulling out of the project, citing that National Harbor did not fit in with its current lineup of projects, which currently includes a theme park in Shanghai, according to The Washington Post.

The Walt Disney Company purchased the 11 acres of land, which sit on a hill with views of Virginia and the District, for $11 million in 2009. Shortly afterward, the Peterson Companies., the site’s developer, and Prince George’s County officials announced with fanfare that Disney was coming to the county.

But, last week, officials from the county and Peterson could only express disappointment.

“We are very disappointed with this news,” Baker spokesman Scott told the Post. “We expect National Harbor to continue to grow as a regional and national convention and visitor destination," he said.

The project would have been a 500-room hotel and a major tourist draw for the $4 billion National Harbor. But now, the land where the hotel was to be built will be incorporated back into the development’s long-term master plan, including using it for office space, according to reports.

According to The Gazette, tourism industry representatives say Disney’s decision is indicative of a national trend and is not peculiar to National Harbor.

“We have seen a number of hotel projects of various sizes placed on hold during the past three years. The lending environment in the hotel industry is tight and there is not a lot of projects on the books,” Jeff Higley, spokesman for Smith Travel Research in Hendersonville, Tenn., told The Gazette.

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