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Famed Developer Behind Watergate Hotel Dies From Heart Ailment

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Giuseppe Cecchi

Giuseppe Cecchi, a real estate developer credited with building the infamous ‘Watergate’ hotel, which became a centerpiece of the world’s attention during Nixon’s aptly named ‘Watergate Scandal,’ has reportedly died at the age of 93.

Cecchi used Italian architect Luigi Moretti to design the Watergate. Before the scandal, it was known as the most high-class and sought after hotel in the entirety of Washington D.C., a city that has more than its share of power-players.

His family has reported that Cecchi developed 28 residential communities that included a total of 14,000 homes, 2.7 million square feet of office and commercial space, and 1,400 hotel rooms during his career.

He developed the Parkfairfax community in Alexandria, Va., to condominiums; the Leisure World community in Lansdowne, Va.; and condo complexes including the Rotonda in the Tysons Corner area of Northern Virginia, the Belvedere in Rosslyn and Carlyle Towers in Alexandria, and parts of the Leisure World community in Silver Spring, Md.

It was because of the events that took place at the Watergate hotel that eventually led to the downfall of Richard Nixon’s Presidency.

Cecchi reportedly passed away from a heart ailment. He was known as the “condo king” of Washington. The Washington Post reports on his death,

Giuseppe Cecchi, a real estate developer who became known as the Washington area’s “condo king” but left perhaps his most enduring mark on the capital as the project manager in charge of the construction of the Watergate complex in the early 1960s, died April 4 at his home in McLean, Va. He was 93.

He had a heart ailment, said his son John Cecchi.

Mr. Cecchi had not yet turned 30 when he arrived in the United States in 1959, an Italian engineer dispatched by the Società Generale Immobiliare (SGI) — owned in part by the Vatican, the largest real estate and construction company in Italy — to explore an expansion into North America.

He soon found himself in Washington, where SGI bought 10 acres in what at the time was an industrial site on the banks of the Potomac River. “As a European I didn’t see the warehouses and gasworks, and I didn’t think in those terms,” Mr. Cecchi told The Washington Post years later. “I saw the river and the distance to the White House.”

The Washington Post

Rest in peace, Giuseppe Cecchi!

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