The lifestyle hotel chain Virgin Hotels has announced that the company will open its first Washington, D.C., area location in Union Square.

Washington, D.C., will soon be an even more popular tourist destination as Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is set to begin building a new Virgin Hotel location which should open within two years beside the bustling Union Market Square. Virgin Hotels has hired D.B. Lee Development and Construction and Brook Rose Development to build the new location which will be one of only two Virgin hotels in the entire Northeast. The new hotel will help to enhance Union Market and the city’s economy and cultural growth as a tourist attraction for out-of-town visitors and traveling businessmen and women. [caption id="attachment_5199" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Virgin Hotels courtesy of UrbanTurf[/caption] Branson is planning to have an artist in residence program at the new location as a nod to the art collective that formerly occupied the site, while the second and third floors will house several art studios. Sculptures created by local artists will be featured in an outdoor garden. Virgin’s Union Square location will be a first-class, 178 room-hotel complete with a coffee shop, an infinity pool, event and meeting rooms, a rooftop lounge, and dine and drink options. While Branson’s Virgin Group is an empire of sorts (including the Virgin Music Record Label, Virgin Record Store chain, Virgin Airlines, and Virgin Galactic), Virgin Hotels is Branson’s latest venture, with currently only one location up and running -- in Chicago. Several hotels in major cities are in construction and planning stages, and Branson’s latest entrepreneurial endeavor is certain to rival other well-known and well-established brands such as Marriott and Ritz Carlton, among others. Since opening in 2015, Chicago’s Virgin Hotel has been considered Chi-Town’s best hotel. The Washington, D.C., Virgin Hotel will be located at 411 New York Avenue Northwest.

D.C. has the worst commute in the country. Surprised?