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Today the head of the National Community Church is announcing to his parishioners that a deal has been struck for NCC to buy the People's Church at 535 8th St. SE in the middle of Barracks Row.
With their home base at Ebenezers Coffee House near Union Station overflowing and any completed construction on their new Virginia Avenue footprint probably 3-4 years away, this gives the church an instant "phase 1" building with more than double the capacity of Ebenezers.
Mark Batterson tells me that the first service on 8th Street will be on Palm Sunday, April 17. They'll have one service a week there until the land deal is completed in early June, after which more services and events will be held at the new location, but they'll continue to meet at Ebenezers as well. In time, they are looking at converting the building back to its previous life as a movie theater: it opened as Meader's Theater in 1910, then became the New Academy Theatre before being converted to a church in the early 1960s. (If you've been inside the church, you certainly would recognize the seats and layout as vintage movie theater design.) NCC may even reopen the balcony, which has been closed off as a separate meeting space. They also hope to adapt the stage so that the space can be used for community events; and they're open to suggestions and ideas if you have any.
The People's Church will be moving to Maryland, where most of their members now live.
This gives NCC a bit of breathing room for designing and getting through all the bureaucratic hoops of building at 8th and Virginia, but Batterson considers 535 8th to be a "stepping stone" to the new location. And you can see how excited he is in his recent tweets hinting at the deal, which described to me as a "double miracle for both churches."
UPDATE: Here's Batterson's blog post on the news, with some cool vintage photographs of 535 8th.
Comments (8)
   
 
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Comments

David Garber says: (3/27/11 3:29 PM)
This is great news. I hope they expose the 2nd floor windows on the front of the building! Sounds like this could become a really good space for the community.


Mark says: (3/28/11 10:07 AM)
More great news. Once again, welcome to the neighborhood NCC!!!


Greg Herrick says: (3/28/11 12:33 PM)
How much did they buy it for? A few year's back the People's Church was almost sold for $2.1 Million. I hope they get far more than that now.


Mark Batterson says: (3/28/11 4:45 PM)
Greg,

$3 million.

We felt like we wanted to pay top dollar as a "fellow church." We view it as an re-investment back into the Church--capital C.

Mark


BillP says: (4/5/11 9:59 AM)
I wonder what NCC's plans are for this building after they complete their development along Virginia Ave? $3M is a big chunk of change for an "interim" property.


The Hoff says: (4/5/11 9:42 PM)
I doubt it's interim.


tall-boy says: (4/6/11 3:12 PM)
Ebenezers must be quite the cash cow


BillP says: (4/7/11 10:05 AM)
Big article in recent Washington Biz Journal about the NCC and their $10M+ in recent real estate purchases on Barracks Row. No new news for JD's devotees but its a good summary of the transactions. Link is for subscribers only but I figured this group would include more than a few WBJ subscribers.

link


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1031 5TH ST SE   
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CLARICE GEE / null
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LHREV WASHINGTON M STREET LLC / THUY LE; NA
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79 POTOMAC AVE SE APT 945   
09/18/20 
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227 TINGEY ST SE   
09/30/20 
FC 227, LLC / BRIAN QUINN
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