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Woolly Mammoth Buys Theater

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company has been leasing their space at 641 D St in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Northwest DC since 2005. But now they are the proud owners of the 30,000-square-foot facility.

Woolly Mammoth was founded in 1980 and is known for innovative plays that defy convention. They just completed their 33rd season including some new plays that transported us to the diverse locations of Africa, North Korea, Disneyworld, and Zucotti Park. This summer, Woolly Mammoth welcomes back The Second City for performances of America All Better!! July 9 through August 4.

The theater company’s facility is on the ground and underground floors of a large apartment complex with 428 units near the Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter Metro station, Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station, museums, the National Mall, restaurants, and retail shops. Woolly Mammoth raised $9 million to build-out the award-winning space with a 265-seat theater, two-tier lobby with a light wall, rehearsal hall, classroom, and office space. But after that initial $9 million financial hurdle, the theater company has enjoyed a $1 per year lease, which was set to continue through 2031.

JPI Apartment Development LP, the owners of the building, initiated discussions to sell the space to Woolly Mammoth Theater Company in June 2012. At the request of the seller, the exact terms of the transaction have not been released, but the official deed filed on May 2 states the price as “Ten and No/100 Dollars and other valuable consideration.” According to Woolly Mammoth’s Managing Director, the other valuable consideration is additional money. 

So the actual price remains a mystery, but the building and lot are assessed at $5,340,670 for tax purposes. Woolly Mammoth Theater Company has secured favorable financing and plans to fund the principal from municipal and foundation sources. 

Woolly’s Artistic Director, Howard Shalwitz says, “This latest achievement symbolically stakes Woolly’s place at the center of downtown DC and Washington’s cultural life.” Let’s congratulate the new homeowners and catch a play at Woolly Mammoth!

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