February 26, 2010

Radio One Backs Out of Deal to Move to D.C.'s Shaw Neighborhood

Radio One Inc. has backed out of plans to relocate from Lanham (Maryland) to Washington D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood, dealing a major blow to an already long-delayed mixed-used project backed by the city.

The company, owner of 53 urban radio stations in 16 markets nationwide, had planned to return to the city where it was founded by Catherine Hughes more than 20 years ago, with Hughes herself testifying before the D.C. Council about her desire to return to D.C.

Radio One would have been the anchor tenant in Broadcast Center One, a project that was slated to bring 103,000 square feet of office space, close to 25,000 square feet of retail, 180 apartments for rent (45 of which would be reserved as affordable housing) and a 195-spot underground parking garage to the northeast corner of Seventh and S streets NW. D.C. had committed to providing the land — which sits directly atop an entrance to the Shaw-Howard University Metro station — and $23 million in subsidies for the deal in 2008, a package worth an estimated $30 million.

The development team, comprising D.C.-based companies Four Points LLC, Ellis Development Group and the Jarvis Co., said the development, also known as Media Center One, would still take place.

“The project still is moving forward,” said Ernie Jarvis, principal of the Jarvis Co. and managing director in the D.C. office of CB Richard Ellis. “We are marketing the excess space to fill the spot for Radio One.”

Radio One (NASDAQ: ROIA) did not immediately return calls for comment.
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