The First Congregational United Church of Christ and development partner Skanska have begun developing a 10-story, 200,000 s.f. mixed use building in downtown Washington DC where a Church has sat since 1865, and which PN Hoffman had previously attempted first a condo then an office project. The enviably positioned site between Metro Center and Chinatown is accessible from all 5 metro lines.
The church will reclaim office space on part of the first and all of the second floor, and develop 5,000 s.f. of ground floor retail and eight floors of Class A office space where the church once stood, at 733 10th Street, NW (at G Street), a modern structure which had taken the place of yet another church. Designed by Cunningham | Quill to achieve LEED Gold certification, upward construction could begin as soon as this January with anticipated delivery in 18 to 20 months. The new building will be a huge improvement over a site that many a nighttime passerby used to scurry past, helped not at all by vagrant filled MLK Library next door.
The church congregation began considering a new development over five years ago in light of the costly repairs needed for the old building. After an RFP, the church originally hired PNHoffman as the developer for what was then planned as a combined condominium, church office, and homeless shelter. According to Meg Maguire, a spokesperson for First Congregational, as the condo market slid into oblivion in the beginning of 2008, the church took their developer's advice and redesigned the plan for an office building. Shortly thereafter the market further deteriorated, and the project lost financing, making way for international developer Skanska to swoop in during the first quarter of 2009.
According to Robert Ward, Executive Vice President at Skanska, the company, which only just entered the US market as a commercial developer in late 2008, sought out the project and stepped in to purchase the air rights above the church ground. The agreement between the new developer and the church is for $21 million to include the cost of construction of the 25,000 s.f. of new church space as well as 20 below-grade parking spaces. Skanska now acts as the developer, financier and general contractor with PNHoffman as non-financing partner. Ward estimated the total development cost at $85 million, including the church's $21 million.
The building will feature six sides of glass facade and all sides of the offices from the fourth floor up will be glass walled and well lit, as there is no adjoining structure and the MLK Public Library rises only four stories. The floor plates on the office floors are 21,000 s.f. and consist of an outer ring of column-free window line offices and conference rooms, with an inner ring of interior offices, meeting spaces and common spaces. As part of the LEED Gold design, the building will feature a vegetated green roof. Depending on when tenants sign their leases, the new office spaces could see occupancy as early as 2012.
Since demolition and excavation began in 2007, the church has made a temporary home at First Trinity Lutheran church. The congregation will have to wait another 20 months or so until the new church, designed by Todd Williams Billie Tsien Architects, is ready. Renderings were provided by Interface Multimedia. First Congregational UCC shared their former space with Thrive DC, which now has a permanent home in Adams Morgan. Keeping with their tradition of providing space for like minded groups, the church plans to find an "appropriate nonprofit" to lease approximately 2,300 s.f. of "flex space" in its new home.
Ward described the neighborhood's reception of the project as "welcoming," adding that the ground floor retail space will be a "nice improvement" for the block. Maguire said the congregation is "excited about having a new home that is forward-looking and meets contemporary requirements for their outreach and mission."
Look for signs of progress in the New Year.
Washington DC real estate news
Construction images courtesy of First Congregational.