Mt. Joy Baptist Church Condo Project Gets First Hearing before CHRS Committee – Developer Seeks Historic Preservation Approval

Rendering of Restored Facade of Mt. Joy Baptist Church

Mt. Joy Baptist Church Condo Project Gets First Hearing before CHRS Committee – Developer Seeks Historic Preservation Approval  

by Larry Janezich

Monday evening, Altus Real Estate principal Charlie Kehler and representatives of Cunningham and Quill architects, appeared before the Capitol Hill Restoration’s Society (CHRS) Historic Preservation Committee, the first step in getting approval for the historic preservation application for conversion of Mt. Joy Baptist Church and adjacent townhouse into 12 condo units.  The developer and architect team is also converting The Maples – formerly Friendship House – into residential units, a process currently underway. 

The familiar white painted façade of the Church and townhouse at 514 4th Street, will be stripped to the original mid-19th Century brick, and restored to their original appearance, with no major changes to the historical aspects of the structure, though a utilitarian addition at the rear of the church dating to the early 20th Century will be removed. 

There will be a total of 10 condos in the former church and two in the adjacent townhouse.  The project will provide 6 to 10 underground parking spaces (probably 6) in the church.  Residents in units without underground parking will use street parking – less impact, the architects point out – than regular parking by a 300 member congregation. 

Each of the condos will have two bedrooms, with the largest unit on the church’s third floor spanning the width of the building and overlooking 4th Street.  This unit will benefit from all three of the arched windows on the building’s front.  The architects predict that construction will take about a year and is tentatively scheduled to begin in the fall of 2012.   

The developer and architect are scheduled to appear before Commissioner Francis Campbell’s ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee on Tuesday, December 6, at 7:00pm at St. Coletta’s School, 1901 Independence Avenue SE.  The full ANC6B will consider the application at their regular meeting on Tuesday, December 13, at 7:00pm at The Hill Center.  The historic preservation application goes before the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) on December 22.

The CHRS Historic Preservation Committee is chaired by Nancy Metzger, whose nomination to the Historic Preservation Review Board by Mayor Gray was announced last month.  Metzger is also active with the Historic Districts Coalition.  Her nomination was endorsed by the Committee of 100, but not the D.C. Preservation League or the DC Business Industry Association (DCBIA).  DCBIA is the main non-profit trade association representing the real estate development industry in the District of Columbia. 

Altus Realty Management is an Arlington-based firm that provides brokerage services and property and construction management.  The firm is headed by Terry Hindermann and Charlie Kehler, both listed as principals on the company website.

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