It was almost three months ago, over lunch with a small group of supporters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that President Obama quietly confirmed what many had been wondering for quite some time: he and his family would remain in Washington, D.C., after his term ends in January 2017:
“We're going to have to stay a couple of years so Sasha can finish [high school].”
Obama was referring to his youngest daughter, now 14, who will be a sophomore at Washington private school Sidwell Friends when her father leaves the White House.
Older daughter, Malia, graduates from the same school next month; it was announced she will take a year off before heading to Harvard in fall 2017:
“Transferring someone in the middle of high school—tough,” added the president of his family's decision to stay in town.
Naturally, almost immediately thereafter, buzz around the city turned to where, exactly, the first family would live.
Independent Journal Review can reveal the Obamas have set their sights on a nine-bedroom, eight-bathroom home in D.C.'s posh Kalorama neighborhood, an enclave of mansions favored by ambassadors, titans of industry, and former politicos.
The 8,000 square-foot house, which Redfin estimates has a current value of $6.35 million, is owned by Joe Lockhart, who is no stranger to adjusting to life after the White House.
Lockhart was press secretary and senior advisor to President Bill Clinton from 1998-2000; in 2004 he served as an advisor to John Kerry when the then-Senator, now Obama's Secretary of State, ran for President.
Lockhart is a founder of Glover Park Group, a D.C.-based consulting firm. However, in January of this year, he became executive vice president of communications for the NFL, and moved to New York City. Lockhart's Washington home, where he lived with his wife, Giovanna Gray Lockhart, the D.C. editor of glossy women's magazine, Glamour, has been without a full-time resident ever since.
According to real estate records, the home was purchased for $5.295 million in May 2014.
Speculation has been rampant that a handful of high-powered Washington real estate agents have busily been trying to accommodate a future ex-President and his family, vetting properties from Spring Valley to Georgetown.
But the Obamas, according to anonymous sources, worked privately with the Lockharts to reach a lease agreement for their bright and airy house, which features a large back patio, parking for up to 10 cars, and a full in-law suite (perfect for Michelle Obama's mother, Marian Robinson, who has since 2009 lived with the family in the White House).
The location of the house, on a quiet street directly across from a wooded swath of Rock Creek Park, appears ideal to suit the residential requirements of a former President.
There is minimal traffic, and the neighborhood is one of the most policed in Washington, thanks in large part to its proximity to ambassadorial homes and embassies—the embassy of Oman and the Islamic Center of Washington are less than a block away. United States Secret Service patrol cars, as well as private diplomat security teams, monitor the area at all times.
The Vice President's mansion, on the vast grounds of the Naval Observatory.
And “Whitehaven,” the nickname of the brick Colonial the Clintons purchased for $2.85 million on Whitehaven Street in 2000, when Hillary Clinton entered the Senate. She and Bill Clinton still live there when they're in town. Daughter Chelsea entered Stanford in 1997.
Both the Biden and Clinton homes are within walking distance from Belmont Road.
It has been reported Obama will be the first president to remain in Washington since Woodrow Wilson in 1921. His predecessor, George W. Bush, returned to his Texas ranch at the end of his term; Bill Clinton moved with Hillary to their primary home in Chappaqua, New York.
Jacqueline Kennedy attempted to remain in Washington, following the assassination of her husband, moving into a stately Georgetown mansion in February 1964. The crowds of tourists and curiosity-seekers were too much, however, and by August of that year she decamped to Manhattan, seeking a more anonymous existence to raise her young children, outside of the D.C. fishbowl.
Independent Journal Review reached out to the White House earlier for comment and has not heard back.