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Former Biograph Becomes Cyber Café

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Think the Tryst in Adams Morgan or Cyber Stop Café on 17th Street in Washington, D.C., he says. If you have a laptop, you can use a wireless connection to high-speed broadband. Or step into a kiosk, swipe your café card or bank card and go online. There will be plasma TVs tuned to channels like CNN, installations by local artists, sultry music, and comfortable couches and chairs arranged to create a loungelike and vintage atmosphere. What's more, the café will double as a midsize venue for concerts, plays, theater and movie festivals, and will boast a high-tech meeting room where businesses can conduct video conferencing anywhere in the world.

Lambert, son of state Sen. Benjamin Lambert, recently purchased the 7,000-square-foot movie house that previously had been first the Biograph Theatre and then the Grace Street Cinemas. The building has been idle for years. Lambert's brothers and sisters are helping with the details, which Lambert says were received enthusiastically by Virginia Commonwealth University President Eugene Trani. "We told him this would be a tourist attraction, not just another club," Lambert says.

Lambert has hired BAM Architects, a local firm that has designed renovation plans for the historic Hippodrome Theater in Jackson Ward, to create a new look for the theater. Construction begins in June. By summer's end, The Hyper Link should be open, or worse-case scenario, by Christmas, he says — in time for his family's annual party.

"People are always complaining that there are old movie theaters just sitting here," Lambert says. "Now we're going to turn this one into a multiuse and very artistic cyber café — one with a global philosophy." —

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