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Disney pulls out of National Harbor development

The Walt Disney Co. has scrapped plans for a 500-room resort hotel that would have added another marquee name to the National Harbor development in Prince George’s County.

The entertainment giant made the announcement late Friday and on Monday, the developer of the 300-acre project said National Harbor will move on without Disney.

Jon Peterson, senior vice president of The Peterson Cos., said he was “disappointed” by the news.

“We’ve established a tremendous relationship with Disney over the years and have the utmost respect for the entire organization,” Peterson said. “The parcel will be incorporated back into our long-term master plan for National Harbor.”

Disney bought the 11-acre plot in May 2009 for $11 million but remained tight-lipped about its plans.

The Washington Post first reported Saturday that the company had pulled out of National Harbor. Disney did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III said he, too, was disappointed by Disney’s decision.

The county has lagged its neighbors on both sides of the Potomac in attracting major commercial developments and retail destinations. National Harbor brought cachet and the chance for Prince George’s to woo travelers, shoppers and large conferences when it opened in April 2008.

National Harbor includes six hotels, including the 2,000 room Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center; 235,000 square feet of retail and dining space; and 230,000 square feet of office space.

Peterson said the company will break ground on the 388,000-square-foot Tanger Outlets center and an apartment complex in 2012.

“National Harbor continues to be a premier destination for all to visit,” Baker said in a written statement. “My administration is committed to aggressively attracting and pursuing more quality development opportunities not only at National Harbor but throughout Prince George’s County.”

Baker, who took office last year, has made economic development a priority. He pushed for and won council approval of a five-year, $50 million economic development fund to woo companies in the hyper-competitive suburban Washington area.