Watergate Break-In Building Sells For $101.5 Million To D.C. Developer

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WASHINGTON – The Watergate Office Building, site of the infamous 1972 burglary that led to the … [+]

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The same week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, a Washington D.C. real estate developer said he’s buying the Watergate building where a 1972 burglary led to the resignation of a president.

Brian Friedman, founder of Friedman Capital, said on Friday an affiliate of his investment firm is paying $101.5 million for the Watergate Office Building, scene of the break-in that led to President Richard Nixon’s downfall in 1974.

The seller, New York-based Rockwood Capital, bought the 11-story building for $75 million in January 2017. In the last few years the structure has undergone a $30 million renovation that included a new fitness center, bike storage, upgraded common areas, and lobby, Friedman said.

“This building is an iconic piece of American history,” said Friedman, who is promising to add a museum commemorating the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters that led to the House of Representatives opening an impeachment inquiry in 1973.

It’s the fourth asset Washington D.C.-based Friedman bought this year and the third asset in the metropolitan D.C. area, the firm said in a statement.

The Watergate Office Building at 2600 Virginia Avenue NW is one of six structures in the Watergate complex sitting on 10 acres near the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the capital’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood. The other Watergate buildings include apartments, retail, and a second office structure that wasn’t part of the break-in.

The unraveling of the Nixon administration began on the sixth floor of the Watergate Office Building when a 24-year-old security guard making his nightly rounds found doors stuffed with paper to keep the locks from engaging. At 1:55 a.m., he called the D.C. police.

Police officers arrested five men at gunpoint who were photographing files and installing covert listening devices, or “bugs,” at the Democrats’ headquarters, which occupied most of the sixth floor. It later turned out the men were operating under the direction of President Nixon’s re-election committee.

Nixon resigned in August 1974 when it became clear the House of Representative was going to impeach him. The final straw was a visit from key Republican senators who told the nation’s 37th president that support in his own party had eroded.

In a primetime televised speech the following evening, Nixon became the first, and so far only, U.S. president to resign.

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