Democrats Make Temporary Exodus From Headquarters

Posted January 7, 2003 at 5:06pm

It’s moving day for Democrats.

The Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee are temporarily vacating their Capitol Hill office space at 430 South Capitol St. SE while the building undergoes an extensive renovation aimed at transforming it into a state-of-the-art facility.

The $30 million-dollar facelift, which was pre-paid with soft-money donations now outlawed by the new campaign finance law, is expected to be complete by the end of the summer.

In the interim, House Democrats won’t have to travel far to dial for dollars, as the DCCC is moving its staff across the street to the Fairchild Building.

“There will be ample space for Members to conduct their political activities there,” said DCCC spokeswoman Kim Rubey.

[IMGCAP(1)] The DNC, meanwhile, is temporarily heading to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, renting out office space at 88 16th St. NW, a vantage point that will allow Democrats to “keep a close eye on the president” as they look toward 2004, quipped DNC spokesman Guillermo Meneses.

Democrats are aiming to be back in their old digs (where the DCCC and DNC will continue to share a roof) by August if all goes as planned.

“We’re very excited because we’ll have a brand new state-of-the-art building,” Meneses said. “Obviously, this is all in keeping with [DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe’s] vision of an energized and revitalized Democratic Party that is ready for the 21st century. That means studios, technology and state-of-the-art equipment. We need to remain competitive.”

The big changes have also impacted the National Democratic Club, which sold its adjacent property at 30 Ivy St. to the DNC last fall for the expansion and renovation.

The NDC will continue to operate its restaurant, a popular and convenient spot for political fundraisers, on the first floor of the new DNC building under an agreement by which it will lease the space from the DNC for the next 35 years. At the same time, the Democratic Club is building a new townhouse on New Jersey Avenue — the groundbreaking will happen in March — to house its other activities.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, meanwhile, is busy breaking in its own new headquarters.

Last August, the DSCC purchased 120 Maryland Ave. NE from the American Civil Liberties Union at a cost of $2.9 million to serve as its new headquarters, and the committee is already operating out of the new space.

According to a DSCC press release, the committee plans on retaining some amount of space in the new DNC building “in order to facilitate interaction with fellow committees on get-out-the-vote and other activities.”