Speaking at a Bisnow real estate conference this morning, Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth dropped a few hints about what she’s looking for in a new headquarters as the Post considers a move from its 63-year-old home at 15th and L streets NW.
“Now that the printing presses are not in the building, we don’t have any constraints,” Weymouth said. “We’d like a building that’s a little bit lighter, a little more air.”
Weymouth said she’s looking “primarily” at D.C. and Virginia—-the latter having been home to the paper’s digital side during the ill-fated experiment at splitting the paper’s operations that ended in 2009. “We’d like it to be cheap, and near the Capitol, near the courthouses,” she said.
Post executives haven’t ruled out renovating their current building, but Weymouth indicated that she’s eager to get out of there, or at least to undergo a substantial renovation. “It’s depressing and it’s old and it’s time,” she said. “My grandmother hated it, too.” Weymouth’s grandmother, Katharine Graham, led the Post in several capacities from 1963 to 1991. Weymouth said her grandmother tried to get the architect I.M. Pei to renovate the building, but ultimately turned Pei down because the renovation would be too expensive.
So how can the District or a Northern Virginia jurisdiction lure the Post? Maybe with cold, hard cash. Asked if the paper would be wooed with economic incentives, Weymouth replied, “We hope so!”