Demolition of "Deep Throat" parking garage approved

The Arlington County Board has officially allowed a developer to raze the parking garage in Rosslyn, Va., where FBI official Mark Felt - known at the time as "Deep Throat" - met reporter Bob Woodward to relay information on the Watergate scandal.

The vote of the five-member board took place Saturday and was unanimous. The parking garage and office buildings at 1401 Wilson Blvd. will be replaced with a 28-story residential building and a 24-story commercial building with retail shops.

Despite the garage's storied history, the board members are enthusiastic about the new project.

"What's not to like?" County Board Chairman Jay Fisette, a Democrat, asked, according to the Washington Post. She noted it will bring residents, a grocery store, a park and other community benefits to the area, including $8 million for affordable housing.

Woodward's 2005 book, "The Story of Watergate's Deep Throat," revealed the location of the garage where Woodward and Felt conducted their clandestine late-night meetings. The information provided by Felt and the subsequent coverage of the Watergate scandal eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974.

In 2011, Arlington County placed a marker outside the garage that the developer and county board intend to keep, several media outlets reported. The landowner has also promised to create a memorial to the events that took place there.

"We obviously view the whole Watergate situation as a significant event in the history of our country," Monday Properties Chief Development Officer Tim Helmig told ARLNow.com last August. "It would be our hope that we preserve that plaque and incorporate it in our redevelopment."

The 1976 hit movie, "All the President's Men" starring Robert Redford as Woodward, Dustin Hoffman as Woodward's reporting partner, Carl Bernstein, and Hal Holbrook as "Deep Throat" dramatized the meetings with Holbrook's shadowy, cigarette-smoking character meeting Redford's Woodward in dark parking garages and providing clues about the Watergate scandal.

After the building is replaced - demolition isn't expected to begin until January 2017 - the movie and Arlington's marker will be all that's left of the history.

"We thought we should probably do a marker and let people know this, indeed, is where all these things took place," Arlington County historic preservation coordinator Michael Leventhal told WTOP in 2011. "As with all these changes ... you don't want to lose that something happened and this is where things occurred."

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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