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These days, the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center is competing with the Dunkin’ Donuts that was closed recently for unpaid taxes to be the least attractive portion of the U Street NW corridor. But in the mid-1980s, the District government office building helped spark the revitalization of the area, courtesy of then-Mayor Marion Barry. It even has his name on the side.
When the District swaps the building for land for the future D.C. United stadium, that portion of the mayor-for-life’s legacy could end up bulldozed.
Barry has plenty of reasons to oppose the new stadium besides the Reeves Center. With the soccer team headed to Southwest’s Buzzard Point instead of Ward 8’s Poplar Point, it marks another failure in Barry’s attempts to bring a stadium to his ward. (During 2011’s redistricting, he tried to annex Nationals Park.) When Barry tried to address the crowd today at the top of a question-and-answer session at an event today at Buzzard Point, Mayor Vince Gray shut him down, insisting they had to take the media’s questions.
But Barry also has a big reason to like the stadium: The new Reeves Center and the city employees that come with it will be located in Anacostia. Barry, who opposed Mayor Anthony A. Williams‘ attempt to sell the office building because of the “confidence” it gave the U Street area, has had a change of heart. “A thousand employees over there?” Barry says of the Reeves Center 2.0. “It’s going to be just fantastic.”
Will Barry’s name make the trip across the river and reappear on the new Reeves Center? “We’ll work that out,” Barry says.
Photo by Will Sommer