Plans to move Washington's popular Spy Museum collapse

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 08, 2014 12:03 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Plans to move the International Spy Museum, one of Washington's most popular tourist draws, into a historic library have fallen through, organizers said.

Events DC, the District of Columbia's convention authority, and the museum said in statements on Tuesday that they had withdrawn plans to redevelop the Beaux Arts-style Carnegie Library as a new home for the museum.

The move follows rejection by the city's Historic Preservation Review Board of revised plans for the building, which was built in 1903.

The private museum's owner, Malrite Co of Cleveland, said in September 2013 it would revamp the Carnegie Library in order to get more space in a fast-growing part of Washington. The lease for its downtown location expires in 2017.

The museum says it has the largest collections of spy artifacts on public display, including a lipstick pistol and an Enigma cipher machine from World War Two. It gets from 600,000 to 650,000 visitors a year.

Jason Werden, a museum spokesman, said it was looking for a new space and pursuing plans to become a non-profit museum.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Jim Loney)