Since January, 2003
            
 (a random before-and-after moment)
May 26, 2013
June 16, 2018
3rd at Virginia, Looking West-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  
800 B/O L ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft First Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 08/15/18
1500 B/O SOUTH CAPITOL ST   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 08/14/18
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 08/13/18
UNIT B/O N ST SE   THEFT
Theft First Degree (all Other Larceny)
 08/13/18
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 08/11/18
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 08/11/18
900 B/O HALF ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 08/11/18
1000 B/O HALF ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 08/11/18
700 B/O L ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 08/09/18
1400 B/O SOUTH CAPITOL ST   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 08/07/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 08/07/18
1400 B/O SOUTH CAPITOL ST   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 08/05/18
UNIT B/O N ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 08/03/18
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 08/01/18
100 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 07/31/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 07/25/18
1400 B/O SOUTH CAPITOL ST   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 07/22/18
1000 B/O 1ST ST SE   ROBBERY  07/22/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Shoplifting
 07/21/18
1000 B/O 5TH ST SE   ASSAULT WITH A DANGEROUS WEAPON
Assault W/i To Kill
 07/21/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 07/19/18
200 B/O I ST SE   ROBBERY  07/17/18

Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1300 4TH ST SE   
07/24/18 
PN HOFFMAN AND ASSOCIATES, INC. / TAMIKA STATON; OTIS
EN1801082 / SHOP DRAWING
Install 1 new elevators - 4000LBS@3500FPM Contract 639114, Elevator 1
   
07/24/18 
PN HOFFMAN AND ASSOCIATES, INC. / TAMIKA STATON; OTIS
EN1801083 / SHOP DRAWING
Install 1 new elevator 3500LBS@350FPM 12 Floors
4 I ST SE   
08/02/18 
CRESCENT COMMUNITIES / DANIEL P. THOMPSON
P1808039 / SUPPLEMENTAL
2 I ST SE   
08/02/18 
MCDONALDS CORPORATION / DONNA G GRAHAM
AH1801184 / CONSTRUCTION
WR #3573836 - VAETH / BRUNO-WARD 6-20003-PEPCO CREWS WITH BE WORKING #2 I ST SE - MAY NEED TO BLOCK "I" ST ON OCCASION TO INSTALL NETWORK TRANSFORMERS AND INSTALL CABLE - CREW WILL BE WORKING AT NIGHT DURING THE WEEK (MONDAY THRU FRIDAYS) FROM 9 PM TO 7 AM - WILL ALSO BE WORKING WEEKENDS (SAT & SUN) FROM 6AM TIL 6PM - WORK WILL START AUGUST 4TH, 2016 THROUGH AUGUST 31. 2018
300 M ST SE   
07/31/18 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / SAM HOLLEN
B1810089 / CONSTRUCTION
INTERIOR RENOVATION TO 8TH FLOOR OFFICE SPACE. PARTITIONS, FURNITURE, MEP AND LIFE SAFETY. NO STRUCTURAL. 2646 SQUARE FEET. SPEC SUITE 875
400 M ST SE   
07/25/18 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY (LAND) / DONNA G GRAHAM
AH1801155 / CONSTRUCTION
WR #3476633 / VAETH / BRUNO / WARD 6 / 20003 / PEPCO CREWS WORKING THE 300-400 BLK OF M ST SE SPLICING CABLE - WORKING SATURDAY 7 / 28 / 18 AND SUNDAY 7 / 29 / 18 FROM 6AM TIL 6PM
   
07/30/18 
CAPPER SENIOR II LIMITED PARTNERSHIP (IMPS) / DEBORAH MCCROSSIN
SOL1800691 / CONSTRUCTION
Installation of a 142.56 Kw roof mounted solar array.
861 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
07/25/18 
CONSOLIDATED RAIL CORPORATION / NA CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC.
AH1801151 / CONSTRUCTION
Work in public ROW within the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Reconstruction Project LOD for utility, demolition, and concrete structure construction activities.
1111 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
07/31/18 
null / NA NA NA
EHOP18941202 / HOME OCCUPATION
201 TINGEY ST SE   
08/02/18 
JBG/SEFC 170 LLC / BARBARA ANN STEDMAN
AH1801189 / CONSTRUCTION
WR#3570726 - CABLE SPLICING - MANHOLE ACCESS - ANTHONY PRICE
227 TINGEY ST SE   
07/27/18 
FOREST CITY WASHINGTON / null
P1807872 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
07/27/18 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / null
P1807874 / SUPPLEMENTAL
300 TINGEY ST SE   
08/02/18 
FC BOILERMAKER LLC / CARLOS E. MONTES
P1808020 / SUPPLEMENTAL
(1) Chiller (1) Water dispense
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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