Good timing for Navy Yard hotel

Posted: January 27, 2014

WHEN A relentless winter storm buried the city under 14 inches of snow Tuesday, plenty of people knew they were in for a long, miserable night.

Canceled flights. Delayed trains. Car rides that were destined to end soon after they started on the side of some whited-out road.

But there was a silver lining amid all of the white stuff if you happened to be in a certain stretch of South Philly: the Marriott's brand-new hotel in the Navy Yard was open, and eager to take on guests.

The Courtyard Philadelphia South at the Navy Yard, which opened for the first time earlier this month, sold out all of its 172 rooms on the night of the storm, said Jennifer Tran, manager of the Navy Yard's marketing and communications for the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation.

The guests were a mix of folks schlepping through the city, stranded travelers who had tried to catch flights at Philadelphia International Airport, and employees from the Navy Yard's ever-growing corporate campus.

All things considered, it wasn't a bad way to introduce people to the eye-catching hotel, which boasts a Starbucks and a bistro, where visitors can grab a bite to eat.

"The hotel just opened on Jan. 7, and so far, all the feedback has been very positive," Tran wrote in an email.

"Everyone is thrilled to have yet another option to get a coffee, conduct a business meeting over food, or get a drink after work at the first bar at the Navy Yard since being converted to a mixed-use campus."

The green hotel (it was built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards) offers free Wi-Fi. Rooms start at $199, but the hotel's website had some available as of last night for as low as $111.

The opening of the hotel is another milestone in the Navy Yard's remarkable rebirth. About this time last year, city officials celebrated the fact that the 1,200-acre campus was home to 10,000 jobs and 130 companies, including GlaxoSmithKline and the Tasty Baking Co. (Can't forget the eclectic food-truck scene, either.)

An ambitious master plan calls for residential developments and nightlife offerings to be included in the not-so-distant future.

In November, the Daily News reported that U.S. Sen. Bob Casey had asked the Federal Transportation Agency to discuss the prospect of extending SEPTA's Broad Street subway line into the Navy Yard.

"The subway extension is always at the top of our minds, especially as the campus continues to expand," Tran said.

"The hotel gives us another reason for continued discussion; having the subway at the Navy Yard will better connect employees, visitors, and hotel guests to other points throughout Philadelphia."

On Twitter: @dgambacorta

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