Seven months after local news outlet DCist abruptly shut down, the website officially relaunched today— and this time, its employees have a proper office, reported WAMU.

“We don’t work in a glorified closet anymore,” joked Editor-in-Chief Rachel Sadon.

The real-estate upgrade — which took DCist from a small room at WeWork in Shaw to more spacious digs in Van Ness — was a fringe benefit of a deal inked in February between the news website’s former owner and public radio stations WAMU, WNYC and KPCC, according to WAMU.

DCist is now owned and operated by WAMU, though Sadon says readers shouldn’t expect that to change the website’s speedy, digital-first approach to local news.

“Not a lot is going to be markedly different,” Sadon says. “We’re excited actually to bring it back in a way that’s really recognizable for our readers … with some tweaks to make it better.”

Those tweaks include a larger staff — including two full-time editors, one staff writer and a part-time arts and food editor — and a beefier freelance budget, paid for by WAMU and eventually supplemented by a Kickstarter campaign  that exceeded 1,000 contributors late last week, according to WAMU.

Started in 2004, DCist cultivated a loyal readership that elevated the scrappy outfit to a leading source of local news. Contributors regularly broke stories while maintaining a lively voice that appealed to the city’s young newcomers. Urbanist website Greater Greater Washington described the outlet as “millennials’ local paper of record.”

After the site suddenly shuttered in November — axed by billionaire Joe Ricketts after some of his employees voted to unionize — leaders at WNYC began orchestrating a deal to purchase Ricketts’ holdings, which also included Gothamist in New York and LAist in Los Angeles. WNYC invited WAMU to be a part of the acquisition, and Chief Content Officer Andi McDaniel quickly signed on, WAMU said.

“This was an opportunity that when we learned about it, it seemed like such a natural fit,” McDaniel said in February. “The kind of community and neighborhood-level reporting that DCist does, and its beloved status locally, just aligned naturally with what our mission is.”  More here.

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