The owner of the Central Liquor Store said yesterday that he will relocate his liquor business close to its current location on Ninth Street NW or move back to the original location after a new office building is constructed on the property.

Quadrangle Development Corp. has contracted to buy the Central Liquor Store building and several other buildings on the northwest corner of Ninth and E streets NW, and plans to start construction of a new office and retail building on the site by the end of the year, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

Herb Rothberg, who owns and runs Central Liquor, said yesterday he is negotiating with Quadrangle to move back to the site after the new building is finished, as well as considering two other sites on the same block.

"We're committed to the old downtown because we have customers who know where we are," said Rothberg, whose store is believed to be the largest liquor retailer in Washington. "We're an institution and we're a big draw, and I think we would be quite an attraction," he said. Rothberg added that the store would not be forced to move until the end of the year.

A Quadrangle spokesman confirmed that the company would be interested in having Central Liquor come back to the site.

"The understanding has always been that, if he wanted to move back into the new building, we would be glad to have him," the spokesman said.

Rothberg said that the Quadrangle building will have a parking garage, which is important to his business.

"Most of our customers come by car from the suburbs, and the bulk of the business are customers who buy by the case," Rothberg said. "We will need to have adequate parking where we decide to go."

Rothberg also said he would be adding a new line of products -- including cheeses and other more "up-scale" items -- when he relocates, but that the business still would remain a discount volume liquor store.