It was nearly five years ago
that we learned that the Navy Yard Car Barn, aka the "Blue Castle" at 8th and M SE, was being purchased by the National Community Church
, with ideas
of turning some of this building constructed in 1891 (and 1902) into a theater/performance (and Sunday service!) space, as well as some other unnamed ideas that "the community would be excited about."
Earlier this summer, the first part of the renovation swung into action, as the 11,000-square-foot theater/performance space with about 1,000 seats opened for use. And the building itself has a new moniker, "Capital Turnaround," in honor of the car barn's initial use as the end point for the Navy Yard streetcar line, and the space is filled with all manner of historic photos of the building in its heyday.
I was given a tour today by NCC's Mark Batterson--believe it or not, it was my first time ever in the don't-call-it-a-Blue-Castle. With the theater space (basically) finished, work is now starting to get underway on Phase 2, renovating the building's northeast section into a large child development center, which could open in spring 2020.
The third phase, along 8th Street, is being eyed as a community market/co-working type of offering, which probably won't see the start of construction until at least summer 2020. As you can see in the photo above, the building's eastern side is two stories high, and it's possible that the western side might see an additional floor as well, as part of later construction.
Plus, who knows, maybe they'll get a hold of one of the old DC streetcars to display.
And yes, I took some photos. Here's some shots of the event space, the lobby, the rabbit warren-like corridors that filled the entire building in recent years, and the sizable phase 2/child development space--the green drywall will eventually come down and the lobby outside of the event space will continue into here.
But, while NCC is dispensing with "Blue Castle" as a moniker, the reality is that the building (or most of it) will probably still be blue for a while to come. But if you head down 7th Street south of L, you can see where some of it has been de-blued, giving a feel for what the building might feel like at some point in the future.