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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1000 B/O 3RD ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
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 11/01/19
UNIT B/O I ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
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 11/01/19
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Shoplifting
 10/30/19
200 B/O I ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
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 10/28/19
100 B/O H ST SE   MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT
Theft First Degree (Stolen Auto)
 10/28/19
900 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   ROBBERY  10/28/19
100 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 10/27/19
300 B/O TINGEY ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
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 10/22/19
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 10/21/19
300 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
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Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1331 2ND ST SE   
11/08/19 
DC WATER / CRAIG M COOK
B1907684 / CONSTRUCTION
Flood mitigation, seal openings, install brackets for stop logs, replace elevator shaft with concrete slab.
1346 4TH ST SE   
10/23/19 
FC 1346 HOLDCO I LLC / GARY BRENT; NA NNA; NA
SG2000046 / CONSTRUCTION
Install 1 illuminated wall sign & 2 non-illuminated wall sign - ALBI
300 M ST SE SPACE B   
11/06/19 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / null
M2000403 / SUPPLEMENTAL
100 M ST SE SUITE 200 20003   
10/25/19 
MONUMENT REALTY LLC / null
E2001081 / SUPPLEMENTAL
100 M ST SE STE# 200   
10/25/19 
SQUARE 743 INC / MIGUEL A. MOROTE; MIGUEL A. MOROTE
E2001078 / SUPPLEMENTAL
100 M ST SE   
10/21/19 
SQUARE 743 INC / JOHN C. BLOCK; JOHN C. BLOCK
E2000895 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
10/21/19 
SQUARE 743 INC / null
E2000932 / SUPPLEMENTAL
300 M ST SE   
11/06/19 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / RUBEN MOVSISYAN; RUBEN MOVSISYAN
E2001472 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
11/11/19 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / null
P2001215 / SUPPLEMENTAL
861 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
11/05/19 
809-853 NEW JERSEY AVENUE ACQUISITION, LLC / JAVIER A GRACIA; NA NA
SB2000011 / CONSTRUCTION
Drilling and installation of 3 inclinometers which will be extended to a depth of 25 below existing site grade as well as the installation of 4 settlement optical monitoring points which will be extended to depths ranging between 5 feet to 30 feet below existing site grades.
1100 NEW JERSEY AVE SE 1ST   
11/04/19 
SQUARE 742 LLC / JAMES W. LASHER; JAMES W. LASHER
E2001381 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1100 NEW JERSEY AVE SE 410 20003   
10/24/19 
WILLIAM SNOODT / null
P2000729 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1100 NEW JERSEY AVE SE 420   
10/22/19 
SQUARE 742 LLC / JAMES W. LASHER; JAMES W. LASHER
E2000949 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1100 NEW JERSEY AVE SE 4TH FL   
10/22/19 
SQUARE 742 LLC / JAMES W. LASHER; JAMES W. LASHER
E2000951 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1100 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
10/21/19 
SQUARE 742 LLC / STEPHEN TAYLOR; NA TBD
B2000682 / CONSTRUCTION
Revision to existing issued permit #B1913851: Furniture layout revision, mailboxes changed location. Electrical outlets relocated per furniture changes.
   
10/22/19 
SQUARE 742 LLC / ;
P2000628 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
10/23/19 
SQUARE 742 LLC / TRACIE TRACIE; TRACIE TRACIE; KALI A. SHELTON
SG2000051 / CONSTRUCTION
One wall mounted sign illuminated.
   
11/01/19 
SQUARE 742 LLC / ;
P2000952 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
11/05/19 
SQUARE 742 LLC / BETSY H MARINO; RICHARD PEPPER; BETSY H MARINO
SG2000062 / CONSTRUCTION
Remove Alion sign and replace with illuminated wall sign reading SERCO
71 POTOMAC AVE SE   
11/08/19 
RIVERFRONT HOLDINGS II, LLC / JAMES VANEGAS
AH2000075 / CONSTRUCTION
Perform interior and exterior construction activities. New construction 14-story new residential multi-family building.
520 TINGEY ST SE   
10/30/19 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / JOHN WICKLIFFE; TBD
TN2000020 / CONSTRUCTION
Install 100ft x 90ft Tent No Cooking, No Propane, No Stages, No Smoking Installed Feb 9, 2020 - Aug 4, 2020 Events Daily 8:00 am - 10:00 pm
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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