Since January, 2003
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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.
Comments (65)
 More About Blue Castle Home


202_cyclist says: (9/25/19 3:47 PM)
I'll pass. I can't get too excited about anything offered by an evangelical church.


202_cyclist says: (9/25/19 3:47 PM)
And a property in a prime location will not contribute to DC's tax base.

CJBabyDaddy says: (9/25/19 4:12 PM)
Evangelical, schmevangelical. I’m agnostic on what flavor of Kool-Aid is being dispensed. The tax-exempt operation of what are essentially commercial enterprises is what sticks in my craw.

G Street says: (9/26/19 9:00 AM)
That's a huge theater!

Guessing they will rent it out for events like the ("It's a) Miracle" Theater on 8th Street?

goldfish says: (9/26/19 1:37 PM)
This is good news!

Sorry about those that disagree with a church investing in our neighborhood, buying up decrepit properties such as this, that formerly was a (non-taxpaying) charter school, and providing critically needed services such as child care. These folks are investing big time and big money, and you have to respect that.

JD says: (9/27/19 11:16 AM)
Via Twitter: "Metro has sold the Navy Yard chiller site, 41 L St. SE, to MRP for $10.24M, per deed. Long time coming. Residential-over-retail coming next." link

JD says: (9/27/19 11:17 AM)
"La Famosa," an outlet for Puerto Rican food, is coming to the Bower at 4th and Tingey next year: link (h/t CJBabyDaddy)

VictorBravo1111 says: (9/29/19 6:09 PM)
Maybe I'm late to this news, but what's going on at the TSNY (Trapeze school)? The entire yard is dug up and there's a bulldozer smashing away parts of its wall. Is it moving? Or renovating?

VictorBravo1111 says: (9/29/19 6:12 PM)
Also, anyone know why half of the north-bound portion of New Jersey Ave right across from the TSNY (intersection of NJ/Tingey/N) has been dug up with construction work the last four months? Initially I thought it was some emergency pipe work but they've been working there for quite a while now!

CJBabyDaddy says: (9/29/19 9:54 PM)
@VB1111: Try link

walt says: (9/30/19 2:34 PM)
I don't have to respect that rich corporations continue to get richer because they don't pay taxes. That means they get 40% more income and revenue than the rest of us do. I could make big investments too if I had 40% more money.

RMP says: (10/1/19 5:23 PM)
The former Bower sales office is apparently now an Arris leasing office.

RMP says: (10/1/19 5:41 PM)
Apparently I missed the news that Brookfield sold off Arris to Mill Creek. Anyone know when that happened?

JD says: (10/1/19 5:44 PM)
Not, sold, just handing over management of the building.

CJBabyDaddy says: (10/1/19 6:12 PM)
@RMP: Is nothing sacred?

202_cyclist says: (10/2/19 6:21 AM)

JD says: (10/2/19 9:04 AM)
My jaw is still on the floor.

caphillguy says: (10/3/19 3:30 PM)
Does anyone know what the big white tent on the lot just west of the Navy Yard is for. It’s visible from M street near the 6th Street gate.

JD says: (10/3/19 3:32 PM)
It's the new home of the Trapeze School. Their "building" should appear in that new spot before too long.

VelocityChris says: (10/4/19 6:23 AM)
Shilling Canning Company makes list of 15 hottest restaurants in DC (area)!


JD says: (10/5/19 10:04 AM)
Looks like the Chemonics HQ at New Jersey and Tingey (the most recent Trapeze School site) is not going to be all that far off. The excavation permit has now been approved. Project page: link

CJBabyDaddy says: (10/8/19 10:14 PM)
I pressed my nose against the door at Hatoba this evening, the future ramen shop in the Boilermaker Building in the 300 block of Tingey. Dude came out. After wiping my smudge off the glass, he said they were shooting for a soft opening on Friday, October 11 — maybe lunch, maybe 5pm. Stay tuned.

walt says: (10/9/19 3:41 PM)
How do you pronounce Chemonics?

JD says: (10/9/19 4:54 PM)
I don't know for sure. keh-MON-ics?

jdc says: (10/9/19 9:04 PM)

smitty2k1 says: (10/10/19 9:17 AM)
Going to really miss having that green space across NJ Ave.

Coworkers in my building are getting desperate as more and more parking lots are being replaced by buildings.

202_cyclist says: (10/10/19 11:30 AM)

202_cyclist says: (10/10/19 11:32 AM)
smitty2k1 -- maybe your coworkers might have to take metro or one of the many bus routes that serves our neighborhood. I understand that people live throughout the region and commute the Capitol Riverfront/JD Land but I have little sympathy for most people who drive here when there are so many transit options.

MarkinDC says: (10/10/19 10:40 PM)
Agree with 202. I have very little sympathy for folks who drive to work in our neighborhood and I have always disliked the sad and dreary, barren looking parking lots scattered throughout JDLand (and I've lived here since 2012).

RMP says: (10/11/19 8:53 PM)
Solid turnout at Hatoba for opening day. Excellent neighborhood addition.

GarfieldPark says: (10/12/19 12:54 AM)
Anyone have an update on the stabbing at Cap South metro station on Friday afternoon?

JD says: (10/12/19 12:57 AM)
They arrested a 15 year old girl. Sounds like it was an altercation between teens on a train.

CJBabyDaddy says: (10/12/19 4:44 PM)
@RMP: We hit Hatoba for lunch Friday and Saturday. Excellent indeed.

JD says: (10/12/19 8:07 PM)
Anyone interested in meeting up somewhere (outside the ballpark) to watch Game 3?

202_cyclist says: (10/12/19 9:37 PM)
Dang! We’re going to be on the train, back from NY on Monday evening.

Ampersand says: (10/14/19 10:34 AM)
I watched the Wild Card Game from Top of the Yard and it was surprisingly uncrowded, plus cheaper than the Bullpen. Recommended if you're considering meetup locations.

JD says: (10/14/19 12:00 PM)
I caved and bought standing room tickets for tonight and tomorrow.

walt says: (10/15/19 10:24 AM)
Anybody have any news on those assaults at the Navy yard Metro? I saw comments about 5 guys assaulting multiple people on Nextdoor.

NavyYardGuy says: (10/15/19 1:54 PM)
The Nats have DESTINY -- they remind me of my 97' Cleveland Indians, minus the part where we lost to the marlins in game 7 of the world series because of Jose Mesa and then eventually Charlie Nagy.

Go nats -- going to mission to feel the energy of tonight's soon to be historic win!!

202_cyclist says: (10/16/19 10:11 AM)

Who'd we rather play-- the Astros or Yankees? What an incredible turn-around from May when the Nationals were 12 or 13 games under .500.

JD says: (10/16/19 11:26 AM)
I am still just flabbergasted.

CJ1 says: (10/16/19 11:27 AM)
Has anyone heard anything about a RAR brewing location in Navy Yard??


202_cyclist says: (10/16/19 11:38 AM)
CJ1-- "If it's what you say, I love it, especially later in the summer.”

Folks-- assuming you don't have $2500 for a pair of tickets for the World Series, we should have a JD Land watch party at the Hampton Inn rooftop bar for the home games.

NavyYardGuy says: (10/16/19 12:47 PM)
I second the JD land watch party -- whatcha say @Jdland?

JD says: (10/16/19 12:51 PM)
Er, um, I'm probably in the Spare No Expense category, at least for the first home game. My dad was six weeks old the last time Washington was in a World Series, and he's never been to one, so I'm making sure he gets to this one.

jdc says: (10/16/19 1:14 PM)
That is very, very sweet of you JD. Someone wake me when the Skins make the Superbowl. I expect a long, long nap.

GarfieldPark says: (10/16/19 1:30 PM)
As much as I would love to beat the Yankees, I'd rather have the Astros. My fear is Nats Park (and JD Land!) would be overtaken by the NY fans. Not enjoyable.

202_cyclist says: (10/16/19 1:52 PM)
@GarfieldPark-- Yes, someone was saying that we can only speculate who Giuliani is calling behind home plate.

Go Nats!

NavyYardGuy says: (10/17/19 12:13 PM)
@JDland -- I get it totally. Go nats!

ValveetaChz says: (10/18/19 12:48 PM)
Any word about square 767? There been not one peep from DCHA!

walt says: (10/18/19 1:41 PM)
Re: rebuilding the senior center.
I'm sure there's a good reason for this, so can someone tell me? Why would all the lumber for the senior center show up and be stored outside 4 months before building is slated to begin? I've heard of acclimating wood to the site, but shouldn't it be indoors? or at least covered? Or doesn't it matter?

walt says: (10/21/19 9:40 AM)
Re: Changes around Nats Park:

Today on my way out, I noticed:

1. Installation of some large thing that may be an antenna or a giant camera on the top deck of the parking structure at the NE corner of 1st & N.

2. Temporary flimsy metal crowd control gates that have been held in place with sandbags have been replaced by concrete crowd control barriers (at least along the back side of the ballpark, near the Douglass bridge. Not sure when this happened, but it's a huge improvement over those metal junk pieces and if permanent, would look lovely if they were painted with murals.

3. The intersection of South Capitol and Potomac Ave has new traffic lights -- with the lights hung over the intersection. UGLY!

I'd also like to share my displeasure about the lighted signage on Nats Park and the parking garages. While waiting at the light, and looking around, my eye mistook an advertisement lighting change for the traffic light change, and I almost drove through the red light. I still don't like having advertisements shoved in my face while I'm driving around and the blinking flashing changing ones are the worst! I will remember this the next election day when I'm voting for council for Ward 6.


jdc says: (10/21/19 4:59 PM)
Concrete barriers also long 1st St on the side with the currently empty expanse.

Westnorth says: (10/22/19 12:06 PM)
Traffic changes for World Series home (and away!) games: link

Westnorth says: (10/22/19 12:06 PM)
80 M St SE presented at ANC6D. Vertical addition will be mass timber!

ANC also unanimously booed the idea of a cycletrack on P St SW. Somehow, a lane of 26 parked cars was deemed the paragon of "inclusivity," compared to dedicating safe passage space for 500+ bicyclists, scooters, wheelchairs, etc. a day.

202_cyclist says: (10/22/19 2:19 PM)
Will the 80 M Street plans go forward, irrespective of WeWork's pending implosion?

jdc says: (10/22/19 2:31 PM)
Parc Riverside phase 2 is really close to wrapping up exterior work, if not already completed. I think all windows are now in. I wonder how soon 37 L will get brick and windows - they're moving at an incredible place and may top out before Thanksgiving.

tmich93 says: (10/23/19 9:17 AM)
@JD or anyone else, any word on what retail is coming to the half street section of One Hill South? Looks like construction has begun and I know there were rumblings of CVS or possibly MedStar.

JD says: (10/23/19 9:32 AM)
@timch93, not rumblings, it's confirmed that both CVS and a MedStar primary care office are going in at One Hill South.

202_cyclist says: (10/23/19 1:38 PM)

It looks like there might be retail going in on the corner of Park Riverside. Also, the scaffolding for Meridian on 1st Street was removed, so pedestrians have a little more space.

bdj says: (10/23/19 8:54 PM)
Anyone know why its taken SO long for Parc Riverside to finish their build? Are Toll Bros contractors just incompetent? It's been 2+ years since they broke ground...

RMP says: (10/24/19 9:17 AM)
Watch party on Friday at Yards Park for those of us without tickets. I asked on social media if it going to be a live or delayed feed and they said live. We will see.

202_cyclist says: (10/24/19 10:46 AM)
Also-- the Novel building is having a fancy rooftop watch party on Friday.

JES says: (10/24/19 4:57 PM)
There's no retail going into Parc. Velocity residents were told this a while back. As for why it's taking them so long, I have no idea. We directly overlook it on the courtyard side of Velocity, and months passed without any work going on at one point. They're finally back at it though.

Westnorth says: (10/28/19 4:19 PM)
Renderings of 80 M:

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