Tuesday, June 08, 2004

FOGGY BOTTOM: Sniping and Griping at the Watergate; Development vs. Allure

The Washington Post reports that residents of Watergate co-ops are up in arms about a proposal to convert the Watergate's hotel into luxury apartments.

From the Post's Dana Hedgpeth:
Three of the six buildings in the complex are already co-ops, whose residents include national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, opera star Placido Domingo and Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) and her husband, Bob. Leading the opposition is lawyer Jack H. Olender, who says the Watergate's way of life is at stake. "It's another Watergate coverup," he said. He started a group called Watergate East Committee Against the Hotel Conversion to Co-ops.

While some residents are complaining that new luxury apartments could diminish the allure of their luxury co-ops, Domingo believes that the elimination of the hotel would diminish the concept of the Watergate as originally envisioned back in the 1960s. In a letter to District zoning officials, he wrote: "The elimination of the Hotel would not only diminish the lifestyle of the residents, but would adversely affect the position of the Watergate Complex in the District as an acclaimed example of urban living."

So Domingo is against the conversion. But other high-profile residents, like Rice and Ginsberg seem to be trying to avoid the whole matter. The Post reports that both the co-op faction and Monument Realty LLC, the group pushing the hotel conversion, say they have the national security adviser and the Supreme Court justice on their side. But representatives for both are declining to comment on the Watergate matter.


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