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This has been hinted at throughout the fall, and property records now reflect that the National Community Church/Ebernezers folks have added to the Miles Glass site on Virginia Avenue they bought in August by purchasing an empty lot around the corner on 7th Street, SE, for $875,000 in December. This now gives them about 19,000 square feet of land on Parcel 906, if my math is correct.
If you look at the satellite view of the block, you can see how NCC's holdings--the Miles Glass building, the empty lot just to its west, now and this separate empty lot on 7th across from the Marine Barracks--are connected. And one certainly has to wonder if the car shop on the corner of 7th and K/Virginia, now surrounded by a single landowner, is going to be staying in that spot much longer. (The other empty lot on the block, at the lower right, is where the Bavarian Beer Garden may be going in, creating the Saints and Sinners stretch along 8th.)
If you haven't been following along, the church's head, Mark Batterson, wrote on his blog in late August about the purchase of the 8th and Virginia site, saying that church is running out of space for services and staff at Ebenezers near Union Station, and since his vision for NCC is 20 locations and more than 100 staffers, they're looking at "going vertical" and constructing a building with about 50,000 square feet of space. They have been doing some "visioning" to figure out their plans for the site, and Batterson told City Paper in November about ideas of "two performance spaces, one at about 500 seat capacity and another at a thousand, with at least one level of underground parking to handle the crowds," but nothing specific has been announced yet.
The empty lot on 7th was once going to have a small apartment building constructed on it, but was foreclosed on in 2009 and sold for $400,000 at auction.
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andrew says: (1/11/11 4:41 PM)
Looks like we just lost a whole boatload of potentially tax revenue producing properties to a church organization who is going to run a for profit coffee shop and not have to pay any real estate or sales taxes. Not like we need tax revenue or anything.


David Garber says: (1/11/11 5:02 PM)
I think this is fantastic news. Great to have a cultural / cafe building at that corner. Much better than the stagnation that has been there until now. Of course, will still need to be vigilant about quality design - but if existing Ebenezer's is any indication, they seem to have a grip on what looks good.


Mark says: (1/11/11 5:46 PM)
This is GREAT news! My family is very pleased to have NCC making such a significant investment in our neighborhood. Welcome!!



BillP says: (1/12/11 2:07 PM)
wow, those are some big "performance spaces" (one 500 seat and one 1,000 seat) so thank goodness they are already planning for underground parking as underground parking is very expensive to build.

i do see the point about losing this property from the tax rolls; however, residents of the area will surely benefit from the redevelopment of these long-time decrepit spaces, as will the merchants of barracks row and the efforts to extend barracks row south of the freeway. call it a push?

also, as a tax geek, i can say that there are strict laws about how much unrelated business income (i.e., coffee shop) a nonprofit corporation is allowed to generate. IIRC it's a very low number which is why parking garages of buildings owned by nonprofits are often sold to for-profit enterprises because parking garages generally produce too much unrelated business income.


G Street says: (1/12/11 4:42 PM)
As long as they allow folks from this community to use it.

Some exceptions, of course - St Marks, St Peters, etc. - but pretty much most of these Capitol Hill churches are populated one (1) day a week = i.e., Sunday.

That's when carloads of people from PG County invade and visit the church they "went to" - back when they still lived in the city.

And then they leave ... and the buildings sit idle for the rest of the week.


BillP says: (1/13/11 9:18 AM)
G Street - personally, I agree with you 100%. As a former resident of F Street NE, I can attest that the current NCC/Ebenezer's space is utilized 7 days a week, probably 12-16 hours per day. In addition to the coffee shop (Ebenezer's), the church offices and other meeting spaces currently reside at that location which will be moving to this new space. Based on my experience, I have no doubts that any NCC space constructed on lower Barracks Row will be fully utilized and not just on Sundays.

Additionally, they host many events (e.g., poetry readings, musical acts, etc.) that are open to the public and appeal to a wide range of people regardless of one's religious preferences.


JS says: (1/14/11 12:11 PM)
Great news. Are there any plans in this area of SE for a big-box store such as WalMart or Target? They have plans in Chicago and NYC. It would seem that a Columbia Heights type investment might be useful for tax revenue generation.


JD says: (1/14/11 12:30 PM)
@JS: No plans right in Near Southeast for any big box stores that I've heard of. Doesn't mean it won't happen, but the neighborhood isn't on Walmart's list of new "urban" stores it's planning for DC, and don't know about Target's plans.

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