May 27, 2014 at 11:01 am EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Stadium deal could displace D.C. LGBT Center
D.C. Center, Reeves Building, gay news, Washington Blade, stadium

The D.C. Center is currently located in the Reeves Center. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Mayor Vincent Gray on May 23 submitted legislation to the City Council calling for a series of land deals to facilitate the building of a new soccer stadium that could displace the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community from its current home at 14th and U Street, N.W. in three years.

Among other things, Gray’s proposal would trade the Reeves Center municipal building where the D.C. Center is currently renting space to a private developer in exchange for obtaining land owned by the developer in the Buzzard’s Point section in Southwest Washington, where the soccer stadium would be built.

“No current Reeves tenants will need to be relocated until the new Reeves Center is finished in approximately three years,” a statement released by the mayor’s office says. “The District will make every effort to keep select tenants in the vicinity of the 14th and U Street location for continuation of services to their target constituents,” the statement says.

Gray has told D.C. Center officials that his administration would find a suitable new location for the Center, possibly in another city-owned building in the 14th and U area if the stadium deal results in the closing of the Reeves Center. Under Gray’s plan for the soccer stadium, all of the city government agencies currently housed in the Reeves Center would be moved to a new Reeves Center planned to be built in Anacostia.

Several members of the Council, including mayoral candidate Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), have expressed skepticism over the soccer stadium deal, saying they might vote against approving the legislation submitted by Gray last week. Gray’s timetable for trading the Reeves Center for the land in Buzzard’s point is linked to a quick approval of the proposal by the Council before it recesses for its two-month summer break in July.

If the Council doesn’t act on the proposal until after it returns from its break in September, the closing of the Reeves Center at 14th and U Street, N.W., could be delayed beyond the three-year projected timetable in the mayor’s proposal.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • Peter Rosenstein

    I am in general support of the Stadium deal but it clearly needs some tweaks to make it viable for the citizens of the district. The Reeves building is clearly an eyesore on ‘U’ Street and a new commercial building that would provide tax revenue to the District would be a good idea if the price is right.

    But in any event I think the LGBT community needs to get a commitment from the candidates running for Mayor that if the Reeves building is eventually sold that they will commit to finding a good home for the LGBT Center in the community.

  • Lane Hudson

    I hope the LGBT community presses both Catania and Bowser for commitments to find a new home for the DC Center. Mayor Gray made that commitment, but he won’t be around for much longer. Out of the two candidates remaining, Catania has shown far more commitment to the DC Center than Bowser has.

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