- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Warehouse mega-nightclubs in D.C. disappearing as ‘crappy’ areas fade away
Ex-warehouse areas raise rent
Question of the Day
Inside Northeast D.C.’s shuttered Love nightclub, the swanky marble floors are still intact, granite still tops the sprawling bars and mahogany paneling still conveys the ambience of one of the city’s most high-end hot spots.
But the four-level “megaclub” — a former warehouse with a capacity in the thousands — was on the auction block after closing in October. Despite the luxury nightspot’s storied history, the wide range of bidders interested in buying the building expressed one common theme: Its time as a club is over.
The end of Love marks the third megaclub in a year to hit the skids amid a wave of redevelopment in which the District’s once-blighted urban landscape that provided fertile ground for the DJ and dance scene has drastically changed.
“There is a shifting tide in the D.C. nightlife arena,” said Skip Coburn, president of the D.C. Nightlife Association, noting that the popularity of larger-than-life nightclubs is waning with investors and owners.
“It used to be that an owner could lease a crappy building in a warehouse district at a reasonable rate and put a million into renovations to have a nice bar and nice decor,” Mr. Coburn said. “As development has eliminated all those crappy areas in town the problem is that everybody has doubled or tripled their leases when they’ve come up for renewal.”
Rents in once-cheap warehouse districts are increasing. Condos, apartments and hotels are sprouting up next to long-established megaclubs — creating tension between the club operators and new residents who don’t want booming bass to be the soundtrack to their lives. The heyday of the megaclub seems to be nearing an end.
Love is situated in a neighborhood on the cusp of transition.
At one end of the Okie Street block the club occupies, a homeless man recently erected a fortress of cardboard and wool blankets. The surrounding pavement stinks of urine. But on the other end of the block stands the art deco Hecht Co. warehouse slated for a renovation into luxury apartments, an organic supermarket and a fitness center.
The company rehabilitating the Hecht warehouse, Douglas Jemal’s Douglas Development Corp., bought Love for $5 million in a bankruptcy auction this month.
Asked about his interest in the nightclub, Mr. Jemal brusquely responded, “I’m developing in the neighborhood. That’s my interest.”
Founded in 2001 by D.C. “nightclub impresario” Marc Barnes as a venue called Dream, the club earned a storied place in the lore of D.C. nightlife. In 2003, Dream was the site of a Destiny’s Child concert that drew a crowd estimated at 15,000. In 2007, as Love, the club hosted Washington Wizards’ star Gilbert Arenas’ star-studded 25th birthday bash featuring rap mogul Sean Combs and performances by Busta Rhymes, Lil Wayne, T.I. and The Game.
But even without celebrities or star power, the club on weekend nights drew crowds in the thousands to an isolated building adjacent to a public school bus lot off New York Avenue.
“The megaclubs are basically the dinosaurs in this day and age,” he said in between breaks at last week’s bankruptcy court hearing. “We can’t just put a Band-Aid on this open-heart surgery. Better use for that location would be a different use, more community-friendly.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Andrea Noble is a crime and public safety reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Woman fatally struck by bus in Upper Marlboro
- Virginia county revives debate about domestic drones
- GSA picks 3 sites as finalists for new FBI headquarters
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Isaac Orr
New carbon-dioxide rules would put America in the dark
- House GOP resurrects border bill, predicts successful Friday vote
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors