City Paper is not for tourists
It was already an impressive enough feat for the National Community Church—which has thus far limited its District ministries to its basement space at Ebenezers Coffee and movie theaters—to pick up such a large footprint on 8th Street SE south of the freeway, for redevelopment into a coffeeshop, offices, and performance space. According to property records, that set of three purchases totaled $6,875,000.
But the news broke this weekend that the NCC isn’t going to wait for that lengthy approval and construction process to finish up before expanding its services: It picked up the People’s Church at 535 8th Street SE for a cool $3 million, while its current congregation moves to Prince Georges County, where most of its parishioners are from anyway. That brings NCC’s total stake in Barracks Row to nearly $10 million, before a dime has been spent on renovation or construction (NCC hopes to remake the People’s Church into a theater capable of screening movies, which will require significant upgrades).
And they’re not even stopping there. Pastor Mark Batterson told me a couple months ago that they’ve identified a location east of the river for what he calls a “Dream Center.” The Church’s eventual vision is for 20 locations in the D.C. area by 2020.
Where does all that capital come from? Can’t be selling coffee. Batterson says they’re just fortunate to have a generous congregation, whom he characterized in a January interview: “We certainly touch a cross-section of folks who hold political power, but the bulk of our congregation are the twenty-somethings who are not only drafting legislation, advising members of Congress, and making decisions that affect districts,” Batterson said. “They are also the future leaders of our country.”
And Capitol Hill real estate, it seems.