After three months of negotiations with city officials, the D.C. LGBT Community Center on March 23 signed a 15-year lease to rent space in the city’s Reeves Center municipal building at 14th and U streets, N.W.
Michelle Ross, the LGBT Center’s vice president and chair of its Relocation Committee, said the lease-signing clears the way for the center to arrange for an extensive renovation of the first floor, storefront space that will be the center’s new home.
“Our projected move-in date range is toward the end of June,” Ross said.
She said a start-up date for the construction has yet to be set, but center officials expect the work to begin soon.
Center President Michael Sessa told the Blade earlier this month that shortly after the D.C. Department of General Services accepted the center’s proposal for renting the space through a competitive bidding process, the center discovered more renovation work would be needed than originally expected.
Among other things, a long-standing rat infestation problem requires that the entire space be gutted and redone. Under a provision in the lease that the DGS informed the center about at the outset, the tenant must accept the space “as is” and be responsible for the cost of any repairs and renovation work.
However, Sessa said DGS didn’t inform the center until later in the process that it would be responsible for a monthly fee of $1,500 over and above the $4,000 rent to cover utilities and maintenance services.
Ross told the Blade on Tuesday that through negotiations with the center, DGS agreed to drop the utilities and maintenance fee in exchange for adjusting the rent to $4,500 per month.