Since January, 2003
            
 Sliding from Before to After

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  
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
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 11/06/17
1200 SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 11/05/17
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 11/05/17
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 11/01/17
100 B/O K ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft First Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 10/30/17
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 10/29/17
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 10/27/17
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 10/25/17

Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1100 2ND PL SE   
10/26/17 
null / KENNETH J. LEMERE
E1800879 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
11/02/17 
BAKER DC / CHRISTINE LONG
AH1800167 / CONSTRUCTION
An after hours permit is respectfully requested from 5AM to 8PM daily
1331 2ND ST SE 20003   
10/30/17 
DC WATER / DAVE LEVINE
AH1800128 / CONSTRUCTION
After Hours work for structure excavation and support for B1311474 DC Water, Corman Construction 301-343-5417.
1331 4TH ST SE CU   
11/02/17 
FC 1331 LLC / null
E1801120 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1023 4TH ST SE   
11/06/17 
MATTHEW E WEINER
BP1800535 / POST CARD
1331 4TH ST SE   
11/14/17 
FC 1331 LLC / PAUL E WARREN
E1801475 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1346 4TH ST SE   
11/07/17 
ALAN OWINGS / ROBERT HENRY
AH1800169 / CONSTRUCTION
After Hours Permit for 11 / 10 / 17 from 7am to 7pm to perform concrete operations.
1015 HALF ST SE 7TH FL   
10/31/17 
HALF STREET SE LLC / null
P1800798 / SUPPLEMENTAL
555 L ST SE   
10/31/17 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / EDUARDO L. LOPEZ
E1801004 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
11/08/17 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / null
P1801050 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
11/08/17 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / null
M1800409 / SUPPLEMENTAL
80 M ST SE #110 20003   
11/03/17 
WELLS REIT II 80 M STREET LLC / null
P1800898 / SUPPLEMENTAL
300 M ST SE 402   
10/30/17 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / null
E1800973 / SUPPLEMENTAL
300 M ST SE STE# 402   
11/01/17 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / BERNARD CHAPPELL
E1801037 / SUPPLEMENTAL
110 M ST SE   
11/10/17 
GALLERY CAPITOL RIVERFRONT PROPERTY LLC / JIM RILEY
BP1800623 / POST CARD
922 M ST SE   
10/27/17 
MAIFEDI EQUITY LLC / FRED LATIMORE
E1800926 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1333 M ST SE   
11/03/17 
1333 M STREET SE LLC / JUSTIN BELLOW
B1801393 / CONSTRUCTION
Installation of duct bank and light pole on private property
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   
10/30/17 
CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC. / NA CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC.
AH1800132 / CONSTRUCTION
Work in public ROW within the Virginia Avenue Reconstruction Project LOD for utility, demolition, and concrete structure construction activities.
   
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.
1000 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
10/26/17 
null / NA NA NA
EHOP17919268 / HOME OCCUPATION
1100 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
11/03/17 
SQUARE 742 LLC / null
E1801147 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
11/08/17 
SQUARE 742 LLC / null
E1801323 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
11/17/17 
SQUARE 742 LLC / null
E1801616 / SUPPLEMENTAL
125 O ST SE   
11/17/17 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA / THEODORE D. LYNCH
M1800466 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1244 SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE 20003   
11/02/17 
THE JBG COMPANIES / CODY LANG
AH1800140 / CONSTRUCTION
The location for the project is at the corner of South Capitol Street, SE and N Street, SE, to the North of Parking Lot B for the Washington Nationals Stadium. The permit numbers to reference are B1600228, PA10464330, PA115172-R2, and PA202883. These permits are attached for reference. In order to maintain our contractual requirements and progress with critical path interior finishes, rooftop bu...
1244 SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE   
10/31/17 
THE JBG COMPANIES / GLENNWOOD ROGERS
FB1800009 / 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;

Real Property Sales Archive  
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