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Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights: Crew Club building for sale or lease; owners may not reopen

Crew Club, gay news, Washington Blade
The Crew Club building on 14th Street is for sale. (Washington Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

The owners of the Crew Club, the D.C. gym, sauna and bathhouse for gay men, have placed the club’s building on 14th Street, N.W. near Logan Circle on the market for sale or lease and they do not expect to reopen the club, which closed earlier this year due to the coronavirus epidemic, according to co-owner DC Allen.

Allen told the Washington Blade on Saturday that the building’s new owner or leaseholder would be free to reopen the Crew Club, which has occupied the two-story building’s second floor for more than 25 years, but that’s not likely to happen.

Large signs attached to nearly the entire front wall of the building at 1321 14th St., N.W. promote its use as a “Flagship Retail Redevelopment Opportunity.” One of the signs, placed by D.C. Realtor Wes Neal, says a potential feature of the building is a 7,000-square-foot roof deck.

Allen said that although some bathhouses in other parts of the country, including in Fort Lauderdale, have reopened as states and cities have relaxed coronavirus related restrictions, he decided not to reopen the Crew Club.

“I didn’t feel that was healthy,” he said. “So we did not reopen. And I don’t know if we will,” Allen said. “I just don’t know. Everything is up in the air. If the new owners want a tenant then maybe we will.”

In January, Allen told the Blade he and his husband Ken Flick had decided to retire and had a contract to sell the Crew Club building to Douglas Development Corporation, one of the city’s largest real estate developers. Allen announced the club would be closing Feb. 29 and scheduled a closing party on that day.

But Allen announced one day later on the Crew Club’s Facebook page that an “unexpected turn of events” prompted him and Flick to keep the club open indefinitely. He told the Blade at the time that Douglas Development backed out of the sale, prompting him to recruit new business partners to operate the Crew Club on a day-to-day basis, with him and Flick remaining part owners.

Allen said in an interview with the Blade last week that the arrangement for the new partners to operate the Crew Club “fell apart” when the coronavirus pandemic hit the city in full force a short time later. “That’s all gone,” he said.

“All I have now is Ken and I are retired and the building is for sale,” Allen told the Blade. “And it is unlikely the club will reopen.”

A permanent closing of the Crew Club will mark the end of the city’s last remaining gay bathhouse. The Club Washington, D.C.’s longtime gay bathhouse located in the gay adult entertainment strip on the unit block of O Street, S.E., was forced to close along with other gay clubs in the area for the construction of the Washington Nationals Stadium.

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Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights