A bill that clears the way for demolishing or moving the 180-year-old Rhodes Tavern from its site at 15th and F streets NW was approved yesterday by the D.C. City Council's transportation environmental affairs committee.
The measure would close a T-shaped alley in the block bounded by 14th, 15th, F. and G streets NW. That will make it possible for the Oliver T. Carr Co. to erect a $77 million office and commercial complex occupying most of the block including the Rhodes Tavern site.
Yesterday's action by the five-member committee was taken on a voice vote, with only Hilda Mason (Statehood-At Large) opposed. Polly Shackleton (D-Ward 3) said she voted for it despite being told by an unidentified citizen that her position would be a "litmus test of whether I support historic preservation," which she said she supports.
The D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, acting for Mayor Marion Barry under the city's preservation law, recently approved demolition of Rhodes Tavern on grounds that the Carr project has special merit. Carr has said he would leave the tavern standing at least until the end of this year in hope another location can abe found for it.
Carr's project will incorporte the historic facades of the National Metropolitan Bank and the Keith-Albee building, which front on 15th Street north of Rhodes Tavern.
James O. Gibson, city planning director, said one citizen committee is working with the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corp. in an effort to find a site where the tavern could be moved. Joseph N. Grano Jr., chairman of a rival group that wants to preserve the tavern on its present site, said after yesterday's vote that moving the structure would be "like embalming a corpse and putting it on public view."