Houses of Worship the Target of Redevelopment
Bethel Church DC360 at 60 I Street SW is slated for redevelopment. Cornerstone Development has plans to develop a 186,000 SF residential building on the church property. The site is located across the street from the Randall School site, which will be redeveloped by Lowe Enterprises and Telesis/Rubell into a modern art museum and residential project.
School Needs a New Home
Waterfront Academy is located on the second floor of Bethel, so as a result of the church redevelopment and the school’s growth, it is searching for a new home and has embarked on a $13 million fundraising campaign. Waterfront Academy is a dual immersion (Spanish and English) Montessori school with emphasis on charity and stewardship in the Catholic tradition. The school wants to stay in the SWDC area, where it’s been since operations began in 2014. Before opening at Bethel, Waterfront Academy planned to locate on the 1200 block of South Capitol Street SW.
According to a fundraising email sent by the school, the new space will allow Waterfront Academy to serve at least 135 students each year. The school will include a chapel, library, teacher’s lounge, administrative offices, Infirmary, gymnasium, kitchen, 11 classrooms, and an outdoor plaza featuring an Urban Farm, Outdoor Classrooms, and Natural Play Space.
Large Concentration of Church Redevelopments in Southwest
Bethel Church DC360 is the latest house of worship to face redevelopment in the District, but several of these churches are located in Southwest. St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church at 6th Street and Maine Avenue SW moved into its new space in 2016, adjacent to 525 Water condos that was developed by PN Hoffman. The two-story church is approximately 15,000 square feet with the sanctuary located on the second floor offering views toward the Washington Monument. Also on the second floor are classrooms and a library. On the ground floor, the entrance leads to a vestibule that connects to classrooms and an all-purpose room, which is available for community events.
Riverside Baptist Church at 7th Street and Maine Avenue SW partnered with PN Hoffman to redevelop their site with space for a new sanctuary along Maine Avenue SW and an apartment building at the corner of 7th and I streets SW named The Banks. The new Riverside has been designed with two levels – the first floor will have a fellowship hall and office space while the second floor will contain the worship center for a total of about 11,400 square feet.
A few blocks east on M Street SW, St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church’s long journey to a new home is months away from completion as construction continues on its new sanctuary and adjacent Valo apartment building by Trammell Crow. The new St. Matthew’s will be constructed with stacked stone masonry and colored glass will be inset using cut glass from the old church building that will form an image. There will be 10,000 SF of community space and meeting rooms, as well as the Thurgood & Cecilia Marshall Southwest DC Community Center and Sacred Grounds Cafe.
One house of worship in the neighborhood that didn’t get redeveloped into housing is the Living Hope Church at 1200 1st Street SW. The building has been converted into Kadampa Meditation Center Washington DC Temple for World Peace and received a new paint job and signage in recent months. Although the old Friendship Baptist Church at Delaware Avenue and H Street SW was originally planned to be redeveloped as a condominium project, the developer changed course and leased the space to Blind Whino SW Arts Club. Land adjacent to the church building was slated to become a temporary housing facility for homeless families, but those plans were scuttled and the shelter will instead be built on the Unity Clinic site at Delaware Avenue and I Street SW.
The next house of worship to face redevelopment is Westminster Presbyterian Church, where the congregation is finalizing an agreement with a developer to build a new sanctuary on the 600 block of I Street SW along with mixed income housing.
New Frederick Douglass Bridge Under Construction
A groundbreaking ceremony was held on February 13 for the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge project. Construction equipment started arriving on site over the past couple of weeks leading up to the groundbreaking. The new bridge will be constructed about 100 feet to the west of the existing span and the new design is a departure from the previous version that looked more traditional and swung open to allow large boats to traverse the Anacostia River. Since the display ship U.S.S. Barry that was docked at the Navy Yard was dismantled and moved, there was no longer a need to have a swing span bridge so the design was updated. The new bridge design includes three above-deck arches that capture the District’s arch history, two piers that will appear to float in the river, and four pedestrian overlooks. The new bridge will carry six lanes of vehicular traffic (three on each side), as well as bike and pedestrian lanes on each side of the bridge. In addition to the new bridge, traffic ovals will be built on both sides of the bridge – the oval on the west side of the river will connect South Capitol Street SW with Potomac Avenue and Q Street SW. Construction of the new bridge coincides with the 200th birthday celebration of the bridge’s namesake Frederick Douglass as well as the Year of the Anacostia. During construction, the current bridge will remain open – the new span should be complete by 2021.
William Rich is a blogger at Southwest…The Little Quadrant that Could (www.swtlqtc.com)