- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
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.
- Term limits still in question after 22 years in Prince George's County
- ACLU slams Gray on issues of transparency
- D.C. police quietly prepping for change in law on marijuana
- Council overrides mayor's veto of fiscal 2015 budget
- 3 killed, 4 wounded Sunday in three D.C. shootings
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Obama's empty tough-talk: Gun prosecutions plummet on his watch
- Conservative groups decry Democrats' 'war on women' tactic
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Cutler wins endorsement from gun control group
- Obama says public not familiar enough with issues
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq