August 30, 2018 at 10:48 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Cobalt building sold to developer
Cobalt, gay news, Washington Blade

The building in which the D.C. gay bar Cobalt is located has been sold. (Washington Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

The building in which the D.C. gay bar Cobalt is located and an adjacent building have been sold for $4,750,000 to Marwick Associates LLC, a Lexington, Mass., real estate investment and development company, according to sales records submitted to the D.C. Recorder of Deeds on Aug. 27.

Cobalt has leased its building, which consists of two large attached townhouses at 1639 and 1641 R St., N.W., just off 17th Street since it first opened nearly 20 years ago.

An adjacent building at 1637 R St., N.W. that was part of the sale is the former location of the Townhouse Tavern, which closed several years ago and has been vacant.

In a Twitter message posted on its website last month Cobalt said its lease has “options” and the bar “will be around ‘till at least 2021.” A real estate information site that recorded the sales transaction for the two buildings says the lease for the Cobalt building expires on March 31, 2021.

“It is no secret that Cobalt building has been for sale and [it’s] also no secret that the owner of Cobalt does not wish to buy the real estate,” the Twitter message said. “But Cobalt has a lease with options and will remain open during and after the sale of building,” the posting said.

“Then it’s whatever the New Bldg Owners decide to do,” the posting added.

A representative of Marwick Associates couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. On its website the company describes itself as a “privately held real estate investment and development firm based in Lexington, Mass. that owns, manages, develops, and redevelops office, industrial, and retail properties.”

Cobalt owner Eric Little hasn’t responded to a request by the Blade for comment.

The Realtor representing the owners of the Cobalt buildings and the adjacent building initially listed the sale price for the three properties at $4.2 million.

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

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