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City accepts Newseum’s offer

(Published August 14, 2000)

The D.C. government formally accepted an offer Aug. 7 from the Arlington-based Freedom Forum to buy the D.C. Department of Employment Services building at Sixth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW for $100 million.

The organization will pay $75 million for the building plus a grant of $25 million to finance low- to moderate-income housing initiatives in the District.

The Freedom Forum first announced its offer July 11 and Mayor Anthony A. Williams vowed to clear the red tape within 45 days. The Williams administration cleared its hurdles in 27 days.

The Freedom Forum will move its popular Newseum from its Rosslyn location to downtown when it finishes construction of the planned $250 million project, which will house the Newsuem, the organization’s headquarters, a restaurant, a retail museum store and about 100 condominiums.

The nonprofit organization also says it will pay D.C. real estate and sales taxes from which it is legally exempt. The project is expected to create about 200 permanent jobs.

Chief Executive Officer Charles L. Overby would not set a date for the opening of the new center but noted that the Newseum’s lease in Virginia expires in June 2003.

Williams said he intends to finalize the sale of the building by the end of the year and expects to announce a new location for DOES this fall.

The federal government currently owns two thirds of the DOES building, an interest that will transfer to the new DOES site.

Copyright 2000, The Common Denominator