Since January, 2003
            
 (a random before-and-after moment)
July 14, 2011
July 12, 2015
2nd (West) at H, Looking North-Northwest (see more)

It was a blockbuster piece of news a few weeks ago that the National Community Church had decided to buy the Navy Yard Car Barn, aka the Blue Castle, at 770 M St. SE.
There hasn't been any official statement about the purchase from the church, but recently its lead pastor, Mark Batterson, agreed to reply by e-mail to a list of questions I sent his way about how this move came about and what the church may be envisioning for the landmark building. (Hyperlinks added by me.)
JD: How did the idea of buying the Blue Castle end up on your radar?
MB: Our team had been actively seeking ways to build out our Virginia Ave property, but we’ve been in a holding pattern because of the CSX project. When we heard that the Blue Castle was for sale, it made sense. We just had to make the math work. After quite extensive research with a development team, we came to the conclusion that it will be easier, faster, and perhaps less expensive, to build on top of the castle than it would be to build on Virginia Avenue.
We feel very fortunate to have gotten the contract. We know this is an incredibly iconic building that is interwoven into our city's history. We hope to steward it well.
JD: What are your plans for the building? i.e., Will it be purely uses for your church, or will the neighborhood see some sort of benefit as well? Also, do you have any plans to expand the building itself? How much additional square footage could that potentially include?
MB: We plan to develop the Blue Castle property by building what NCC needs on the roof deck of the existing structure. The key components of the build-out are a multi-purpose performance space with 1500-2000 seats, as well as a central location for our staff. The performance space will be designed for seven day a week use as a music venue and/or theater space. We will assess community needs to make sure the castle serves the best and highest use. We have some preliminary ideas that we think the community will be excited about, but we need to get a little further down the planning road. One thing we know for sure is that we’d like to build out another Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse, like our coffeehouse at 201 F Street, NE.
JD: What about the existing tenants?
MB: The existing tenants have a lease through July of 2018. We have not made any decisions beyond that, but our goal is for the space to serve community needs. Part of our process will be listening to the needs and goals of neighbors, as well as figuring out what best compliments NCC. We will explore a wide variety of uses, along with current uses; in determining it's future.
JD: What sort of timeline are you looking at for making it into what you are hoping it will be?
MB: Until the architectural designs are completed, we can't estimate an accurate timeline. But we have already initiated some conceptual design work. So the wheels are turning. National Community Church continues to outgrow our spaces, so we need it as soon as possible. We also know that there is a timeline and protocol to follow. This is an iconic building, and we want to make sure we get it right.
JD: How does this impact your previously announced plans for your land along Virginia Avenue?
MB: We view the Blue Castle as a better path forward in addressing spacing needs because development of the property is not directly impacted by CSX. The building is also three times larger than Virginia Avenue. This will help us move toward our 2020 vision of 20 expressions of NCC by 2020.
Ultimately, our goal is to master plan both the Blue Castle and Virginia Avenue. Because we own both properties, it positions us to have a more coordinated development.
JD: And, finally... What. About. the. Blue?
MB: Honestly, we hope that someday the Blue Castle will just be the Castle. Of course, we have to factor in the financial impact. And we'l obviously need to work with DCRA and HPRB to make a determination on any changes to the exterior of the Blue Castle.
Comments (9)
   
 
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Comments

SWag says: (12/3/14 12:41 PM)
take my earlier comment back about not wanting anything built on top. I can see it now...


Capitol Hill SE says: (12/3/14 5:21 PM)
NCC made vague promises about neighborhood benefits when they bought the theater on 8th Street, but it hasn't functioned as anything other than a church. So I'm not holding my breath on this. Another Ebenezer's would be nice though.


JD says: (12/3/14 11:05 PM)
Not speaking pro or con or anything, but I imagine the Castle needs a whole lot of work to do what they want, which I would imagine will require city approvals, which will require hearings, meetings, etc.


Tom says: (12/4/14 10:30 PM)
No mention of who exactly is occupying the castle now. Must be an evil charter school.


JD says: (12/4/14 10:32 PM)
I don't think there was any malice in not mentioning the schools.


Blue says: (12/4/14 10:55 PM)
Are there any security restrictions with vertical growth directly opposite the Navy Yard?


JD says: (12/5/14 12:36 PM)
@Blue, I imagine the Navy Yard gets to, ahem, weigh in on any plans, but because any vertical growth of the Blue Castle can't go up very high (and I think only on the side facing L), I imagine it's less of an issue.

Speaking of the part of the Castle facing L, I came across this photo from when I was up on top of the old Capper Seniors building before it was demolished in 2007. Interesting to see the windows from the true old building peeking out above the roof of the addition (which if I remember correctly is not historic):

link



JD says: (12/5/14 12:41 PM)
Actually, though, I'm looking at the 2010 "Lower 8th Street Visioning Process" document, and on page 19 there are some massing studies of what could be built on that 7th Street side of the Blue Castle. However, I don't think those heights are allowed yet--it's just what the study process looked at in terms of what maybe could be submitted to the Office of Planning for rezoning (see page 16).

link



Tom says: (12/6/14 11:24 PM)
JD, no not at all.

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Recent Crime Incidents Archive  
1100 B/O 1ST ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 12/08/17
900 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 12/08/17
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Shoplifting
 12/03/17
300 B/O M ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 12/02/17
500 B/O L ST SE   MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT
Theft First Degree (Stolen Auto)
 12/02/17
1100 5TH ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 12/01/17
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Shoplifting
 11/29/17
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 11/28/17
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 11/27/17
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 11/26/17
1000 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 11/26/17
1000 B/O 8TH ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 11/24/17
1200 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft First Degree (all Other Larceny)
 11/24/17
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Shoplifting
 11/22/17
100 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 11/19/17
70 B/O I ST SE   BURGLARY
Burglary Two
 11/16/17
1200 HALF ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 11/15/17
1100 B/O 1ST ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 11/14/17
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 11/13/17
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 11/12/17
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 11/12/17
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 11/09/17

Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1331 2ND ST SE   
11/29/17 
DC WATER / DAVE LEVINE
AH1800282 / CONSTRUCTION
After Hours work for structure excavation and support for B1311474 DC Water. Corman Construction 301-343-5417
1331 4TH ST SE   
11/14/17 
FC 1331 LLC / PAUL E WARREN
E1801475 / SUPPLEMENTAL
2 I ST SE   
11/29/17 
MCDONALDS CORPORATION / MICHAEL ERIC CAMPBELL
M1800603 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
11/29/17 
MCDONALDS CORPORATION / DANIEL P. THOMPSON
P1801598 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
12/01/17 
CRESCENT CAPITAL VIEW, LLC N/A / ERICKA CLARK
AH1800280 / CONSTRUCTION
Place and finish concrete. Minimal noise impact, and required for reduction on impact to traffic.
70 I ST SE   
11/28/17 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA / OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY; OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY
ER1800447 / SHOP DRAWING
BODY OF WORK: Replace machine and recable elevator # 1.
337 L ST SE   
12/06/17 
JENNIFER LANCASTER / null
E1802092 / SUPPLEMENTAL
347 L ST SE   
12/07/17 
THOMAS PAQUIN / null
E1802129 / SUPPLEMENTAL
555 L ST SE   
11/27/17 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / CLIFFORD DIXON
B1714199 / CONSTRUCTION
DGS PROJECT This permit is for interior work only.SWING SPACE FOR WARD 6 CLINIC TO EXISTING VACANT JOY EVANS RECREATION CENTER TEMPORARILY FOR 12 TO 18 MONTHS
100 M ST SE   
12/05/17 
CRANE SERVICE CO / CHRISTINE LONG
AH1800304 / CONSTRUCTION
An after hours permit is respectfully requested from 7AM Saturday thru 7PM Sunday
410 M ST SE   
11/20/17 
DC HOUSING / COLLINS ELEVATOR SERVICES INC.; COLLINS ELEVATOR SERVICES INC.
ER1800511 / SHOP DRAWING
BODY OF WORK: 1. Remove old piston. Replace & install jack on car # 1.
800 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
11/13/17 
SQUARE 737 LLC / N/A; BOB BIROONAK
SG1800066 / CONSTRUCTION
one apartment id sign illuminated
861 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
11/17/17 
CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC. / NA CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC.
AH1800246 / CONSTRUCTION
Work in public ROW within the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Reconstruction Project LOD for utility, demolition, and concrete structure construction activities.
1100 NEW JERSEY AVE SE 3RD FL   
11/22/17 
SQUARE 742 LLC / null
P1801490 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1100 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
11/17/17 
SQUARE 742 LLC / null
E1801616 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
11/20/17 
SQUARE 742 LLC / null
P1801410 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
12/06/17 
SQUARE 742 LLC / DOMINIC E TOTARO
M1800664 / SUPPLEMENTAL
125 O ST SE   
11/17/17 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA / THEODORE D. LYNCH
M1800466 / SUPPLEMENTAL
AH = After Hours; B = Alteration & Repair; D = Demolition; E = Electrical; FB = Boiler; M = Mechanical; P = Plumbing and Gas; PC = Post Card; R = Raze; SG = Sign; TL = Tenant Layout; TN = Tent; RW = Retaining Wall;

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