Pictured from left to right: Brian Hanlon, Director of General Services, City Council Member Jim Graham, Mayor Vincent Gray
The DC Center has received an award of solicitation for a retail space located in the Reeves Center at 2000 14th St. NW. The announcement was made tonight by Mayor Vincent Gray. While many of the details are still being worked out, the DC Center plans to relocate to the new space in 2013.
The DC Center participated in a competitive bidding process for the space that included both non-profits and local businesses, submitting their original proposal in April 2012. In June of 2012 the DC Center was notified they were not selected for the space. The business that won the initial bid, however, decided not to move forward with the project, and the DC Center had the opportunity to resubmit their proposal in October 2012.
The new location offers 2,468 square feet of ground floor retail space located at the Reeves Center, 2000 14th St NW. This 379,250 square foot, eight-story office and retail building was developed in 1986 and is located at the corner of 14th and U Streets, NW. The U Street corridor is home to vibrant retail and cultural landmarks and the building receives considerable foot traffic from residents and businesses. The building is conveniently located one block from the U Street Metro rail station and is home to several large district agencies with which the DC Center currently collaborates, including the Office of Latino Affairs.
The space, which is in need of considerable renovation, is approximately twice the size of the current home of the DC Center. As part of the proposal, the DC Center will pay rent at the space and cover the costs of the renovation. Capital Pride, and The Latino GLBT History project, who currently share office space with the DC Center, are both expected to also relocate to the new facility.
Michael Sessa, President of the Board of Directors of the DC Center, stated "This is a major step forward in improving the lives of LGBT residents of the District of Columbia through a unique partnership between the community and our local government."
David Mariner, DC Center Executive Director added: "This is a wonderful opportunity. I am incredibly appreciative of everyone who contributed to this effort, including our Relocation Committee."
The DC Center proposal included letters of support from city council members David Catania, Muriel Bowser, Tommy Wells, Jim Graham, Michael A. Brown, Jack Evans, Mary Cheh, Vincent Orange, and Phil Mendelson.
Also included were letters of support from colleague LGBT organizations Brother Help Thyself and the Mautner Project. Other organizations that expressed their support include Whitman-Walker Health, and Transgender Health Empowerment.
The DC Center also acknowledges the support of Brian Card and the U Street Neighborhood Association, as well as Christina Parascandola of the Meridian Hill Neighborhood Association.
Mariner emphasized: "I want to especially acknowledge the efforts of Ward 1 City Council Member Jim Graham, and to acknowledge his support of this effort, and his support of the DC Center over the past decade. We are happy to be in Ward 1."
"It is unclear at this point how long the renovation will take, but it is a big project." Mariner added: "As we move forward we are counting on our supporters to help with the renovation, both financially and with 'sweat equity.' We have a unique opportunity to create a space that we can be proud to call our own for the next 15 years, and a big job ahead of us."