National symbol faces foreclosure

Still wearing prison stripes.

Sort of. Although the buildings of the Watergate are owned separately, the buildings other than the office building will always be associated with the 1972 scandal, proving that journalists don’t understand mixed-use complexes and can’t see the masterpiece for the scandal.

Anyway, the hotel portion of the Watergate may be forced into forclosure. The mid-mod landmark, owned by Monument Realty, is crawling with plumbers again as it nears the end of its first major overhaul after 40 years. But Monument has been throwing cash at the building for two years now, hoping to upgrade the facilities, and it has now defaulted on a $70 million loan. The majority shareholder in the loan, PB Capital, wants the money back (understandably), but Monument can’t repay it. PB Capital previously foreclosed on the Esocoff & Associates-designed Dumont building late last year. Speculation persists about the reasons for PB’s pressure, but generally their ties to Lehman Brothers are to blame, since that company doesn’t exist anymore and creditors are demanding assets from wherever it can get them.

It’s unfortunate; PB Capital and Monument have both fueled large chunks of DC’s growth over the past few years and actually financed some good-quality buildings. It may not play out well, but if it does, then it’s time to start associating the Watergate with the countless affairs that have gone on here, or Condoleeza Rice’s separate condo for her piano.

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