The Washington Post

Politics & Prose owners mulling expansion to Georgetown

Politics and Prose, an independent bookstore. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

The owners of the Politics & Prose book store are considering adding a second location in the old Georgetown Theater building, according to Carol Ross Joynt of Washingtonian magazine.

Bradley Graham and his wife Lissa Muscatine, former Washington Post journalists, bought Politics & Prose after founders Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade spent 25-plus years growing the Connecticut Avenue shop into a staple of Washington political and literary discussions. Cohen died in 2010.

The former theater that Politics & Prose is considering is one of the neighborhood’s more visible locations, at 1351 Wisconsin Ave. by the corner of O Street, because of the well-known vertical “Georgetown” sign out front.

The building was built in 1900 and was home to the Dumbarton Theater; more recently it served as the National Jewel Center. Joynt reports that the building has been listed for $4 million.

Georgetown lost a very prominent book store when a Nike store replaced a Barnes & Noble on M Street and the neighborhood, causing some to lament the loss of “third places,” or areas where one can mingle or work without necessarily having to buy something.

Some neighborhood stakeholders, including the Georgetown Business Improvement District, have been trying to recapture some of the small business spirit that helped make Georgetown successful in the first place, particularly with some of the chains opening in the Shops at Georgetown Park.

Reached Tuesday, Joe Sternlieb, chief executive of the BID, said there was not much to add at this point. But Graham told Washingtonian that the efforts of the BID and other stakeholders make Georgetown more of a possibility than other opportunities for expansion.

“What makes the Georgetown proposal more attractive is the strength of community interest and the suggestion they would be able to raise the necessary funds to purchase the property and renovate,” he told the magazine.

Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz

Jonathan O'Connell has covered land use and development in the Washington area for more than five years.



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