February 16, 2016 at 10:15 am EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Ziegfeld’s-Secrets building to be sold to developer

Ziegfeld's, Secrets, gay news, nightlife, Washington Blade

Ziegfeld’s-Secrets (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The owner of the building in which the gay nightclub Ziegfeld’s-Secrets is located has reached an agreement to sell the property along with several adjacent buildings to a developer who may not displace Ziegfeld’s-Secrets for two or three years, according to the owner.

News of the impending sale of the Ziegfeld’s-Secrets building comes more than two years after the D.C. government announced it would purchase a parcel of land across the street from the gay club to facilitate the construction of a new stadium for the D.C. United soccer team.

Denver businessman and real estate investor Martin Chernoff told the Washington Blade he reached a pre-sales agreement with the D.C. development company MRP Realty to sell the Ziegfeld’s-Secret building along with adjacent warehouse buildings he owns on the 1800 block of Half Street, S.W., a little over six months ago.

“This was an incremental step this week,” he told the Blade on Feb. 13. “Money was deposited” to advance the deal, he said.

“But my best guess is it will be at least three years before Ziegfeld’s-Secrets will have to move,” Chernoff said. “The buyer wants to develop the entire area. Dealing with me was only the first step.”

The Washington Business Journal was the first to report the deal between Chernoff and MRP Realty for the sale of the Ziegfeld’s-Secrets building in its Feb. 12 edition.

Alan Carroll, the owner of Ziegfeld’s-Secrets and who rents the building from Chernoff, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Sources familiar with the club have said Carroll has told longtime customers he is considering retiring in the near future and may put the business up for sale.

It took Carroll nearly two years to arrange to move into the current building after the club was displaced from its former location on the unit block of O Street, S.E., by the construction of the Washington Nationals baseball stadium.

The current building on Half Street, S.W., is in the heart of the city’s Buzzard Point section. The area is transitioning from a warehouse-industrial district into an upscale retail, residential and entertainment district with the new soccer stadium serving as the anchor, city officials have said.

MRP Realty told the Washington Business Journal it plans to build a 300,000-square-foot multifamily apartment building on the site of Ziegfeld’s-Secrets and adjacent buildings, with retail businesses planned for the ground floor.

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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