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On an average weekday afternoon, the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Adams Morgan is closed, with locked gates, and a homeless person or two lounges on the building’s steps. In recent years, local real estate investor and developer Brian Friedman has been trying to develop this prime spot just around the corner from 18th Street’s packed bar strip.
Initial plans called for converting the church into condominiums, says Friedman. But after the District’s Historic Preservation Review Board criticized the plans, Friedman completely scrapped the original idea and came up with a brand new vision: a boutique hotel.
If the plans are approved, the hotel would expand south beyond the church’s property into a space that’s now an office building that happens to house Washington City Paper.
The building is owned by the paper’s former owners. (In July, the newspaper was sold to Creative Loafing Inc., which did not buy the building.) “It absolutely shocked me: [a hotel] there in Adams Morgan at Champlain and Euclid—are you kidding me?” says Tom Yoder, a former part-owner of City Paper. “But would I have bet $10,000 10 years ago that there would not be condominiums like there are on Champlain Street? Absolutely.”
Yoder says the company’s board of directors has approved a contract to sell Friedman the building in December 2009. Washington City Paper’s management is currently scouting for a new location.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of Ruth Samuelson’s story was mistakenly published originally.