Housing Complex

Washington City Paper Moves, Stays In Exact Same Place

Arts Editor Mark Athitakis with his caffeine addiction on clear display.

The offices of the Washington City Paper are very chaotic today. It sort of feels like the last day of college, but there is no summer. No visits to late night pie places. No goodbye moments awkwardly observed by parents. Just lots of boxes, labels, the extended sound of vacuuming when someone unknowingly bumps the office intercom, an above-average level of dust, and a more consistent chorus of sneezes (which are pretty constant regardless).

Luckily, we're not going too far. The entire newspaper is consolidating onto one floor—the top floor—of our building in Adams Morgan. Thus, editorial is moving upstairs. And a new tenant will be taking over our old collection of cubes.

But, this action has implications beyond the confines of 2390 Champlain Street, our address. (More pictures after the jump.)

As I've reported in the past, developer Brian Friedman has been working for quite some time on a hotel project on the parcel of land just north of the building. Tom Yoder, a former part-owner of City Paper, told me last year that the company’s board of directors had approved a contract to sell Friedman our building in December 2009. For a while, Washington City Paper’s management was scouting for a new office.

This spring, Friedman visited various neighborhood associations to talk about his vision. Architectural renderings circulated. Local residents got feisty. Friedman was forced to significantly change his design after concerns arose about the height of his hotel. But, last I talked to Friedman this fall, he was still moving full speed ahead on this baby.

Our move upstairs does seem to alter plans a bit though. The new lease goes through November 2010, whereas our old one ended a year earlier. Fortunately, for our publisher Amy Austin, this means she can stop looking for a new space. The options being considered were not terribly appealing: a basement space downtown at 20th and M Streets. "So, you don't get windows," says Austin. The space was previously occupied by a longterm temp agency. Classy. Or, we were considering an above-ground space in Takoma Park. What are you going to call it Washington Suburban Paper !?!

We will still be moving at some point, says Austin, though she's glad to get some more time to make decisions. Friedman can still evict us with six months notice–but that seems unlikely given the hoops he'll have to jump through with historic preservation regulations, says Austin.

So, City Paper will now have a new downstairs neighbor...some sort of software developer company? We're not entirely sure.

Well, welcome. These people may become familiar to you on your daily trips up the office parking lot ramp.

Editor Erik Wemple, posing as usual, waiting for someone to come by and snap a picture.

Loose Lips Mike DeBonis caught in a rare moment of staring intently at his computer screen.