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Judge Rules Against $250M Price Tag for Museum Square

DC Superior Court Judge Stuart Nash has ruled that the Bush Cos violated a DC law requiring a "bona fide offer of sale" when it gave its Museum Square tenants an ultimatum to buy the K Street property for $250M or face eviction. Bush informed its 302 low-income households of a plan to tear down the apartment and replace it with 825 apartments and condos last June. As part of the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, it was required to give residents an opportunity to buy the property, so it set the price at $250M, based on a calculation of the property's value after development. Bush was relying on a precedent set in a 1999 case when the Phillips Collection gave its tenants the same ultimatum so it could build a Center for the Study and Appreciation of Modern Art for the adjacent museum, the Washington City Paper reports. Judge Nash ruled that the Phillips case was an exception to the rule, and that under normal circumstances a property owner should value its property at market rate. Next Wednesday the parties involved will return to court to discuss the relief that will be granted to the Museum Square residents. [WCP]