Whitman-Walker Clinic to Sell Administrative Offices

By Paul Schwartzman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Whitman-Walker Clinic, the region's largest community-based provider of HIV-AIDS services, has agreed to sell its administrative offices in the District, a deal that will help the organization eliminate $5 million in debt.

The developer JBG plans to build a mix of apartments and shops on the site at 14th and S streets NW. Whitman-Walker will move its staff to its Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center at 14th and R streets NW.

"It's driven by financial needs," said Chip Lewis, a Whitman-Walker spokesman, adding that the deal will allow the clinic to focus more resources on patient care.

A budget crisis in 2005 forced the clinic to lay off staff and close its Maryland office. Whitman-Walker officials say the $8 million sale of the property will eliminate the debt and free the clinic to focus wholly on its future.

Whitman-Walker, which has a $20 million annual operating budget, has accumulated debt largely because of mortgages it has taken out on its real estate portfolio, officials said.

After explosive growth, the region's real estate market has weakened in the past two years. But JBG executives say the 14th Street corridor can sustain more development because it is near mass transit, the U Street corridor and downtown.

James Iker, JBG's managing director, says the company is planning a maximum of seven stories and about 100 apartments. The commercial portion could include a restaurant, a small-scale grocer or "independent retailer," Iker said.

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