KOSSUTH FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENTS TOWARD RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF A HUNGARIAN CULTURAL CENTER IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
Washington DC. The Kossuth Foundation is pleased to announce that the Government of Hungary has purchased the historic Kossuth House. This property has served as a center in Washington DC for the Hungarian-American community and will once again be a community center for those of Hungarian ancestry and visiting Hungarian nationals. Named the Kossuth House, after the Hungarian freedom fighter of the 1848 Revolution in Hungary, Lajos Kossuth, the building had served as the home of a nonprofit fraternal life insurance company, the Hungarian Reformed Federation of America (HRFA), which was established in 1896 with a Federal charter approved by Theodore Roosevelt. For decades, the building served as a meeting place for visiting Hungarian artists and dignitaries and as the unofficial embassy of “Free Hungary” during the Communist era.
The building will continue to be managed by the Kossuth Foundation, an independent, not for profit; the successor to the charitable work carried out by HRFA under a long-term management arrangement with the Government of Hungary. The building is being purchased from a joint venture (JV) established between the Kossuth Foundation and a New York real estate developer, Silverback Development. In 2017, the building was reacquired by this Joint Venture after litigation to resolve ownership rights brought by the successor life insurance company that merged with HRFA in 2011.
The government of Hungary, in partnership with the Kossuth Foundation, has agreed to provide the funding needed for some essential repairs. These improvements would provide needed upgrades to the existing two-story structure built in in 1934 and designed by noted architect, Gertrude Sawyer.
The legal work was performed by Robert Gage and Edward Dix of Covington & Burling LLP. Their professionalism and excellent counsel over the past seven years helped the Foundation to successfully conclude this complex international real estate transaction.
“We are delighted to complete this transaction which will fulfill the dream of maintaining a Hungarian American community center in Washington DC” said Gábor (Gabe) Rózsa, Executive Director and Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. The building will continue to be home to a Hungarian lending library, language classes and a variety of lectures, films, educational and cultural programs for the Hungarian-American community in the DC metro area under the direction of the Foundation. We look forward to working with the Government of Hungary, and members of the Hungarian American community, make the Kossuth House fulfill the role it has served over several decades.”