Developers have begun inquiring about The Post’s headquarters recently because a building next door, at 1100 15th St. NW, has been on the market and is on land the Post owns.
Michael Darby of District-based Monument Realty said last month that he was gathering investors to try to buy the building at 1100 15th St., a purchase that could give him a leg up on acquiring the rest of the block. He said the sale of The Post’s headquarters could be used to finance space elsewhere in the region. “At that point in time we would help them relocate and then do a new redevelopment there,” he said.
Other developers and landlords are likely to try to compete to lure The Post Co. to their properties. When National Public Radio, for instance, decided to sell and relocate from its headquarters near Mount Vernon Square, the broadcaster nearly opted to leave for Silver Spring before deciding to build a new headquarters in the NoMa neighborhood of Northeast Washington.
The Post was not always located at 15th and L streets. In her autobiography, “Personal History,” the late publisher Katharine Graham described The Post’s original plant, on E Street a few doors down from the National Theatre: “The entire building was perilous and problematic. Everything in it was old, except some of the people.”
The company financed construction of the $6 million L Street headquarters using loans provided by Graham’s parents. The new buildings had air conditioning, but Graham recounted a melancholy scene when it came time to move. “There was a very alcoholic, emotional party as everyone finally left the old E Street building behind. The party — more of a wake, actually — was, as someone put it, to ‘mourn the death of a building’ which, with all its inconvenient horrors, was still much loved.”
The move in 1950, however, set the stage for the paper’s evolution into a journalistic force, and in its heyday, subjects of its coverage were known to wait outside for the first edition to roll off the presses. The fifth-floor newsroom was later canonized in the 1976 film about Watergate coverage, “All the President’s Men,” which inspired a generation of future journalists but did not feature the actual newsroom, at Graham’s insistence. Filmmakers instead constructed a Hollywood replica featuring details down to the stickers on the desk of then-Executive Editor Ben Bradlee’s secretary.
“This building has given us so much and has watched history unfold,” Weymouth said in her e-mail. “It is hard to imagine moving after so many years. And yet, once we removed the presses from this building over ten years ago, we were no longer tied to this particular location. We understand that this is a big undertaking and a change for all of us. We take all of this seriously.”