City Paper is not for tourists
First, let me explain this strange, barely discernible image. The blue rectangle: that’s a pool. The green blobs: those are trees. The dark gray parts: asphalt, and the big intersection at the top left side of the picture is the crossing of 18th Street NW and Columbia Road in Adams Morgan.
Now that you have your bearings, let’s discuss that lined structure in the center: a boutique hotel occupying the space currently home to the Washington City Paper and Pacifica radio’s offices.
A hotel deal has been in the works for quite some time now, as we reported last fall. But, this spring, developer Brian Friedman has been making the rounds to various neighborhood associations to talk about his vision. Recently, the local advisory neighborhood commission endorsed the idea of the project, though members oppose the 90-foot height of the building, which would set a new precedent in the area. The Reed-Cooke Neighborhood Association took a similar stance.
“I’m in favor of the preservation of the building and the idea of a hotel. My problem is the bulk of it and the height of it. It would be asking Champlain Street to absorb an awful lot—-the traffic, the cabs,” says Denis James, head of the Kalorama Citizens Association, who attended last week’s ANC meeting. James said he knew the height of the building was going to be a hot-button issue for his group, so he told developer Friedman to bring plenty of plans showing the size.
That, apparently, was a no-can-do.
“I met with him for two hours. I pointed out four or five different things. He didn’t bring any of them,” says James.
Of course, City Paper itself will not be affected by these concerns, should the hotel plan be approved. We will be gone—-hopefully, in a funky converted warehouse in some part of town that is both Metro-accessible and not terribly conducive to random employee muggings. At least, that is the dream, says our real estate agent Susan Cohn.
Creative Loafing, our parent company, would ideally like us to relocate in a renovated industrial space, but if there’s nothing available within our budget, then a regular office will have to do.
Developer Friedman already has a contract on our current building. He has also sniffed out a new space for us in Tenleytown and would like to purchase that building if we agree to move there, says Cohn.
The newspaper is not quite on board yet.
“We have to be a competitive shopper and look around,” according to Cohn, who says the City Paper should aim to lock down a warehouse space, which would probably need a fair amount of construction and rehabbing, by the end of the summer, or a regular office space by the end of the year. She’s already picked out a couple industrial options to examine in and around Fort Totten Park, NoMa, the Washington Navy Yard, and neighborhoods by the National Arboretum. If those prove unattainable, she’s also found possible offices all over the city (we’re talking Dupont Circle to Georgetown to Southwest). In other words, the future is entirely uncertain—-except for this fact: the move would likely take place in fall 2009.