Since January, 2003
            
 (a random before-and-after moment)
August 6, 2005
December 10, 2016
3rd at Water St., Looking Southeast (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  
1200 B/O 1ST ST SE   ROBBERY
Assault W/i To Commit Robbery (simple Assault)
 09/23/19
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 09/21/19
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 09/19/19
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 09/16/19
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 09/15/19
70 B/O I ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 09/15/19
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Shoplifting
 09/13/19
300 B/O M ST SE   MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT
Theft First Degree (Stolen Auto)
 09/13/19
400 B/O L ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 09/11/19
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Shoplifting
 09/10/19
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 09/09/19
54 M ST SE   BURGLARY
Burglary Two
 09/07/19
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 09/05/19
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Shoplifting
 08/30/19
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 08/28/19
500 B/O M ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 08/28/19
800 B/O VIRGINIA AVE SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 08/28/19
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 08/28/19
500 B/O L ST SE   ROBBERY  08/26/19
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 08/25/19
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 08/25/19

Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1346 4TH ST SE   
09/11/19 
FC 1346 HOLDCO I LLC / null
E1911472 / SUPPLEMENTAL
900 5TH ST SE   
08/30/19 
CAPPER CARROLLSBURG VENTURES, LLC / DFM DEVELOPMENT SERVICES, LLC
B1906215 / CONSTRUCTION
Reconstruction of 4-story residential building, the Arthur Capper Senior Center, damaged by fire.
200 I ST SE   
09/04/19 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA / ROGER L PEACE
BP1904525 / POST CARD
   
09/04/19 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA / ROGER L PEACE
BP1904526 / POST CARD
   
09/04/19 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA / ROGER L PEACE
BP1904529 / POST CARD
100 M ST SE 9TH FLOOR   
09/05/19 
SQUARE 743 INC / DAVID FLEMING; DAVID FLEMING
P1909280 / SUPPLEMENTAL
100 M ST SE   
09/05/19 
SQUARE 743 INC / FREDERICK S. DONHAM; FREDERICK S. DONHAM
P1909275 / SUPPLEMENTAL
ONE OPEN SITE DRAIN
250 M ST SE   
08/27/19 
SQUARE 769 LLC / STEVEN CHEN
AH1901196 / CONSTRUCTION
After hours permit is respectfully requested from 3am to 7am daily.
   
09/04/19 
SQUARE 769 LLC / JEFFREY D WOLF
AH1901226 / CONSTRUCTION
After hours permit respectfully requested from 3 am to 7 am daily.
410 M ST SE   
09/16/19 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY / MICHAEL B. BELL; MICHAEL B. BELL
E1911625 / SUPPLEMENTAL
880 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
09/20/19 
880 NEW JERSEY AVENUE LLC / PATRICIA J STAUB
BP1904750 / POST CARD
1275 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
09/03/19 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / PARKER HARRELL; PARKER HARRELL
SB1900287 / CONSTRUCTION
We propose to furnish and install fifteen (15) gravel packed wells, fourteen (14) around the perimeter, and one (1) at the elevator pit. We will also be installing 3 monitoring wells and potentially 5 contingency wells. We will only pump from up to 15 wells at a time. All wells will be located in a mutually agreed layout. The wells will be installed by advancing up to a 10.25 I.D. hollow stem auge...
125 O ST SE   
09/13/19 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA / FRED T FALCONE; JOSEPH SCRIBELLITO
SB1900423 / CONSTRUCTION
Soil borings to collect samples and installed a grouted in place vibrating wire piezometer approximately 30 feet below grade. Two geotechnical soil borings to 75 feet below grade, and 3 soil borings to 20 feet below grade with 5 feet of coring though buried foundations.
301 TINGEY ST SE C-1   
09/03/19 
SEFC 160, LLC / JEFF NOLD
AH1901221 / CONSTRUCTION
Work will occur on 3rd Street SE between Tingey St SE & Water St SE. We will be assessing and providing a CCTV inspection of a sewer line.
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  
No commercial transaction records added or modified in the past two weeks.


Project Directory
Completed
Novel South Capitol ('19)
Yards/Guild Apts. ('19)
Capper/The Harlow ('19)
New DC Water HQ ('19)
Yards/Bower Condos ('19)
Virginia Ave. Tunnel ('19)
99 M ('18)
Agora ('18)
1221 Van ('18)
District Winery ('17)
Insignia on M ('17)
F1rst/Residence Inn ('17)
One Hill South ('17)
Homewood Suites ('16)
ORE 82 ('16)
The Bixby ('16)
Dock 79 ('16)
Community Center ('16)
The Brig ('16)
Park Chelsea ('16)
Yards/Arris ('16)
Hampton Inn ('15)
Southeast Blvd. ('15)
11th St. Bridges ('15)
Parc Riverside ('14)
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Cap. ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)


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