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Development spells end of Watergate 'Deep Throat' garage

Residential and office development spells end of site where Watergate reporter met FBI informer

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 June, 2014, 3:21am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 June, 2014, 3:21am
 

One of the most historic journalism sites of the past half-century will soon vanish, following a decision by city authorities to demolish the building and parking garage where FBI official Mark Felt secretly met Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward during the Watergate investigation.

The Arlington County Board unanimously agreed to allow Monday Properties to replace their two 12-storey, 1960s-era buildings on Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn, Virginia, with a 28-storey residential tower and a 24-storey commercial building.

The parking garage beneath the existing building will be razed, although the county will save the historical marker it erected in 2011, and the landowner has promised to create a commemorative memorial to the events that occurred there.

The plans for demolition became public 10 months ago, but the developer said the design process would take another two years, with demolition no earlier than January 2017.

In addition to the residential high-rise, the project will bring 513,004 sq ft of office space with 11,131 sq ft of retail space, said Tim Helmig, president and chief executive of Monday Properties. He said that is 30 per cent more than the existing office space.

Helmig said after the county board meeting that his family considered their property's brush with history "neat".

Parking spot 32D inside the ground-level garage is where Felt, who was dubbed "Deep Throat" by a Washington Post editor, provided Woodward with information that exposed the Nixon administration's obstruction of the FBI's Watergate investigation.

Felt, the second-highest official in the FBI, chose the garage as an anonymous, secure location and met the little-known reporter in the dark of night six times between October 1972 and November 1973.

The Watergate scandal resulted in president Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974.

Monday Properties has agreed to spend US$750,000 on public art, and just as the decision about that will be open to public input, so will the choice of "a commemorative or marker that respects the events of history regarding the Watergate event," Helmig said.

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