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Marriott coaxing workers back to office with $600 million building

FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Manhattan, New York City

By David Shepardson

BETHESDA, Maryland (Reuters) - Marriott International Inc believes its new $600 million high-rise headquarters will entice workers to return after more than two years mostly working at home.

The U.S. hotel company that owns and licenses about 8,100 hotels in 139 countries cut the ribbon Monday on the building near Washington, D.C.

Marriott Chief Executive Anthony Capuano told Reuters workers will want to return. "People crave that interaction," Capuano said. "I'm not sure we have to pull that hard."

During construction, Marriott turned 20% of fixed workstations into "collaboration spaces."

"We find that more and more of the work we're doing is projects across disciplines... sometimes for a day, sometimes for a week, maybe for a year or longer," Capuano said.

The 21-story headquarters features a 11,000-square-foot child care center, 180 conference rooms, high-end cafeteria and design lab.

Capuano said employees are not required to be in the office but Marriott is "encouraging folks to be here several days a week -- and not just for meetings."

The new headquarters can accommodate about 3,500 workers. Capuano said over 1,000 are at the office on a typical workday.

Most workstations are shared and employees use an app to reserve a desk in a "neighborhood" near other workers with similar jobs and can use a locker for storage, Capuano said.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)