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Federal and local officials backing a 250,000-sf national music museum want to locate it on the site of the existing Washington Convention Center and build it as part of a $1-billion hotel and shopping complex. The Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Federal City Council, a local group of business and political leaders, have pushed for a music museum without specifying its location. Now they have told DC and Mayor Anthony Williams that the Washington Convention Center site at New York Avenue and Ninth, 11th and H streets NW is the best location.

The mayor has just named a task force of political and business leaders to advise him on what should be done with the site when the new, larger convention center opens. It is now under construction at Mount Vernon Square.

The museum would cost about $200 million, while the commercial part is estimated to cost up to $800 million. The museum would not succeed without other development nearby, supporters say. The proposal comes as Washington tries to transform its East End Downtown, sometimes called Penn Quarter, into a tourist destination with entertainment and a cultural center. It also follows closely on the heels of the Newseum’s announcement that it will pay $100 million to relocate to the Department of Employment Services building at 6th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, less than 10 blocks away.

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