Fox5 News blows the lid
off of 225 Virginia Avenue
, telling the world what us smart people have known for a while
about the old Post plant, saying that "DC taxpayers would be outraged to know a building that the city government spent millions on has been left sitting vacant": "The building was supposed to consolidate five public safety functions into one building to increase efficiency of the police department. A year ago the Fenty administration changed their minds on the plans, so the multimillion dollar building is just sitting there, empty. The city spent an additional 1 million for the plans to renovate and has, to date, paid more than $6.5 million in rent." Monthly rent is $500,000.
However, there might be some actual news at the end of the piece: "By the end of the week, the Office of Property Management will request someone else take over the lease and option to purchase the vacant building." The Mayor announced the city's intent to do exactly this back in November 2007
(back when the District was wooing NPR for the building before losing them to NoMa) so perhaps this story suddenly appearing now means they've found someone. We'll see.
You can read my 225 Virginia news items
if you want more of a history on the plans to move MPD (and then not move MPD) there. (Though I bet Phil Mendelson still hasn't given up hope.)
It turns out my crack about Phil Mendelson was more on-target than I might have imagined--the Fox 5 story (and this more complete one in today's Examiner
) were spurred on by a press release from Mendelson noting the one-year anniversary of the city deciding to not move MPD to 225 Virginia and castigating the city for the money being spent on the building. It's not yet posted on Mendelson's site
, but it includes this quote: "At this point, I hope the administration won't be so desperate that they will make a bad situation even worse by trying to unload this property in a sweetheart deal with some developer in return for tax or zoning promises." The Examiner indirectly quotes city spokesman Sean Madigan as saying that the city "plans to seek" developers' interest, so an actual deal is not immediately forthcoming--there's going to be a Request for Expressions of Interest to look for within the next few days, I guess.
(This is also a good lesson in how news stories are so often driven by press releases, without any indication of their existence. Boo.)
Mendelson's comment about "zoning promises" also reminds me to finally mention that within the past week the request to add 225 Virginia to the Capitol South Receiving Zone has suddenly popped back onto the Zoning Commission's calendar (now scheduled for Oct. 27
), after lying dormant since early 2007.