Mount Pleasant Church May Become 70-Unit Condo Project

by Shilpi Paul

image
A previous rendering of Meridian Hill Baptist Church

Keeping up with the trend of parking-free developments, the new owners of Meridian Hill Baptist Church hope to turn the site into a 70-unit condo building with no parking.

Previously, the 16th Street church (map) was slated to be developed by The Bozzuto Group into a 55-unit condo project with parking for about 30 cars.

However, the plans have now changed. Meridian Hill Baptist Church will retain ownership of the property, and have entered into a joint venture with Valor Development to develop the site, ANC 1D Commissioner China Terrell tells UrbanTurf. Valor plans to create 70-75 one-bedroom units on the site, and to forego on-site parking.

For residents with cars, Valor is hoping to enter into an agreement with DC USA to lease or buy spaces at its enormous parking lot, which is about two blocks away from the church.

The developers stopped by the ANC 1D meeting on Tuesday night to brief the community on the project, and the response from the commission was generally positive. A community meeting on the project will be held next week.

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/meridian_hill_baptist_church_may_be_a_70-unit_condo_building_with_no_parkin/7218

15 Comments

  1. Raf said at 10:19 am on Wednesday June 19, 2013:

    One would hope they price condos accordingly then since it won’t have a parking space attached to it. Regardless if they enter an agreement w/DC USA, seems more like a hassle that you’d have to park your car 2 blocks away.

  1. Colin said at 10:31 am on Wednesday June 19, 2013:

    Sounds great. This should help reduce the cost of the condos and would help put the white elephant that is the DCUSA parking garage to good use.

  1. ST said at 10:43 am on Wednesday June 19, 2013:

    I’m surprised more neighborhood buildings don’t already do this with DC USA. I park there, and for $145 a month, it’s a deal. But man, getting in and out of that garage, especially going down to P2, is such a hassle.

    What’s the deal with the Italianate building on 16th and Fuller? Seems like the church and that building have been proposing condos for years, with no movement at all…

  1. MtP said at 11:36 am on Wednesday June 19, 2013:

    I would expect that the neighborhood response would not be very positive.

  1. Johuann said at 4:12 pm on Wednesday June 19, 2013:

    What is the community benefit of giving the developer an exemption from zoning regulations for parking? Did Metro suddenly saturate the neighborhood with transit service?

    Here is a parcel of land in the most densely populated ward of the city, that may soon have at least 70 (how many bedrooms vs. units?) new residents.  Maybe some of them will adopt a car-free lifestyle.  But who can claim that over the 60 year life of the building, that all of the residents will not need to use cars?

    When we start seeing street parking spaces go begging for customers, then we can believe that society has changed enough to stop requiring developers to provide parking in their buildings.

  1. sapo said at 4:55 pm on Wednesday June 19, 2013:

    @Johuann - Why should the government force a developer to build a parking garage? The garage will drive up the already steep prices for the proposed condos even higher. Isn’t that the same mistake the city made with the under-utilized DCUSA parking garage? A better solution would be to raise the cost of street parking as it has been priced far below market rate for far too long. In addition, rather than fighting against a developer who wants to invest in the city, the residents should be demanding a more robust mass transit infrastructure from the city. Does a resident who has lived in a neighborhood for 5 years have any more right to a street parking space than a newer resident? I think not.

  1. bodiddly said at 5:17 pm on Wednesday June 19, 2013:

    This “no-parking” scam is just a way for the developers whose money controls this city to make more money.  No parking garage simply means more people scrambling for street parking.  It’s really pretty simple.

  1. mizark said at 8:45 am on Thursday June 20, 2013:

    @bodiddly - It’s not as simple as you think. Parking is the most expensive, complicated and time-consuming part of a project to build because of excavation. Also, the market price for garage spaces in condo buildings is not high enough to recover enough of these costs. Parking requirements can easily be the make or break factor for a new development being financially feasible or not. If this developer is forced to build parking, they will simply choose not to build the project. That’s the simple part.

  1. adriana said at 9:25 am on Thursday June 20, 2013:

    To Mizark

    I agree with bodiddly.  I think it’s a ploy for developers to just make even more profit.  With the way the market is going, it seems a developer can set a price and someone will buy it.  No matter how ridiculous. I’d like to see the numbers. 

    I mean what’s the profit margin on one of these condos?  25% per unit without parking? and 10% with?  Frankly, even if the difference were that much - I don’t really give a damn.  The city shouldn’t be in the business of enriching developers at the expense of the neighbors.

  1. China Terrell said at 9:50 am on Thursday June 20, 2013:

    Just to clarify, the Commission’s response is generally positive with respect to Valor’s being willing to work with community and take all feedback. 

    China Terrell
    ANC 1D Commissioner

  1. Colin said at 10:14 am on Thursday June 20, 2013:

    “With the way the market is going, it seems a developer can set a price and someone will buy it.”

    Obviously not true or else everything would sell for millions of dollars.

    ” I think it’s a ploy for developers to just make even more profit.”

    Well, let’s build it and then see how the condo prices compare to similar projects and then we will see who is right.

  1. well said at 10:38 am on Thursday June 20, 2013:

    Developers keep bringing up the fact that they don’t want to build parking so they can offer condos at lower prices.

    If that’s the case, well where is the data?  Or are the commissioners just accepting these claims as fact?  Is anyone actually doing their due diligence and fact-checking these claims?

  1. anon said at 1:29 pm on Thursday June 20, 2013:

    I’m just wondering why 70 one bedroom units seems like a good idea. Encouraging families to stay in DC would be smart, but they can’t without bedrooms for their children.

  1. Ashley said at 12:55 pm on Friday June 21, 2013:

    anon- building 1 bedrooms i not a bad financial move for the city.  1 bedrooms are primarily occupied by singles and couples with no children.  These individuals work and pay taxes and since they have no kids their tax burden on the city is less.  One bedrooms will appeal to many people, young adults starting out, retirees looking to downsize, etc. 

    As for the parking, a growing portion of the city has decided against owning a car, for those that do there are many options in that area for parking, including the oft cited DC USA.  If the DC USA was full then maybe there would be an argument there but that garage sits empty because owning a car in that area is not necessary.  I live in Takoma, which has fewer resources, and have not owned a car in 4 years.  I find owning a car a hassle, and a growing number feel the same way.

  1. Renee M. Finley said at 9:50 am on Monday February 10, 2014:

    This sounds like a winner for young adults (first time buyers, and seniors which is where the money is right now.  I think it will be success.

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