Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sorg Gearing Up to Turn Former Church into Condos


A new condominium is one step closer to fruition on the site of a vacant lot and historic church at the corner of 10th and V Streets. Sorg and Associates passed the deadline to accept general contractor bids this week for the Logic Project, a 37-unit condo that will build out the empty lot and convert the church; public records say the church will be converted into office space.

Scheduled to break ground the first quarter of 2012, the plan is for a six-story, 37 unit condo building at 2105 and 2107 10th Street. The site is owned by architect Suman Sorg and is listed under the name Morning Bright LLC, one of the former names of the Baptist church. Built in 1896 by Paul J. Pelz (who also designed Healy Hall and contributed to the Library of Congress), the church has been called a handful of names, including Seventh Day, Trinity Methodist, Zion Church, True Deliverance Church of God, and Morning Bright Baptist Church. The church was abandoned in 1992.Though Nikki Sorg, Director of Business Development - and "Vice Chairperson" for the Board of Zoning Adjustment - was mum about details of the project, she confirmed that the church is being restored. Sorg acquired the property in 2003 for $1,300,000 and has performed some remediation work to the badly deteriorating church.

Hamel Builders is among the general contractors competing for the job. "It's a nice building that will feature market rate quality units," said a project estimator for the company. "I think it would be a major impact for the community."

The Logic Project is an addition to the handful of Sorg designs in the area, which include The Visio and Murano, two condo projects on 10th Street between V and W Streets, the Solea, as well as The Beauregard, 49 unit condominium at 2100 11th Street, both of which were developed by Robertson Development.

Washington, D.C. real estate development news

21 comments:

SHAME_ON_SORG!! said...

Calling SORG mum on the details is an understatement. She and her office have refused dozens of requests from neighborhood residents for the most basic information over the past two years as the blighted property has degenerated, shedding upper story bricks onto the alleyway (so far missing pedestrians and cars), attracting vermin, contributing to a rise in crime, and dragging down home prices. SORG's arrogance hasn't made her, or her firm any friends. After being rebuffed by SORG for simple information or updates, neighbors pressured the city for an investigation, and found that taxes were being paid at a residential rate inconsistent with the actual rate required by law to be paid on abandoned properties like this one. Sorg's response to city investigation was always to pull another permit under false pretenses, and put empty dumpsters on the lot in the pretense of actually doing work. When the heat died down, the EMPTY dumpsters were removed. If it heated up again, another 2 week's dumpster rental. Repeat as necessary. SORG might have offices in the neighborhood, but they are definitely NOT part of this community. If you're basing your assumption of the imminent start of the project based on passing permit deadlines, I wouldn't hold my breath. Probably just one more bit of permit theater from SORG. SHAME ON SORG.

Anonymous said...

I live in the area and am frustrated with Sorg as well, however, their other projects have turned out beautifully in my opinion, and if they are actually closer to breaking ground on this project, I may just be willing to forgive them for the unprofessional way they have conducted themselves thus far. Possibly...

Shame on Sorg is right! said...

I just want to echo the comments of the first poster. Sorg architecture is no friend of this community and shouldn't be written up as such. As a 10th St resident, I will be thrilled the day real work begins on renovating the church, though I'll believe it when I see it. So far, work permits have only served as transparent vehicles for Sorg to evade paying appropriate taxes on a derelict property of obvious and substantial danger to passers by. I've witnessed with my own eyes the "remediation work" described in the blog post -- a few workers milling around for a day or so when the city authorities are called; a port-o-potty never used; a dumpster left empty. In the meantime, the back of the building is literally falling apart -- local residents and those frequenting bars like American Ice Co are one bad storm away from the entire building collapsing, with potentially devastating consequences. I urge DCmud to post images of the back of the church so readers can see for themselves.

In the meantime, I've learned not to expect much from Sorg -- no community outreach, no returned calls. It's remarkable that the company -- as I've heard -- wants to move into the church's office space once renovated, as Sumon Sorg and Co demonstrate by their actions that they feel no real attachment to the community and have no sense of the impact of their likely fradulent actions.

10th St Resident said...

I am also a nearby resident, and am really irritated by Sorg's blatant tax evasion, which should be an affront to all DC tax payers. Sorg owes massive taxes for owning a vacant (and dangerous!) property, but fraudulently evades them by regularly applying for construction permits. It is, however, abundantly clear that they are not doing any construction. To the exasperation of local residents, when the DC authorities schedule an inspection to ensure that construction is, in fact, going on, Sorg hires a portopotty, a dumpster, and on one occasion a few day laborers. After the scheduled inspection week, all of this paraphernalia disappears. This deserves further investigation by a journalist or by DC authorities.

Erin said...

"Their other projects turned out well." Those were built by others, Sorg only did the design, she wasn't responsible for making the projects happen. She is to blame, however, for the design of the Solea.

J street said...

Hooray for these residents for their research on this property. I also found that she was paying residential tax rates but was unaware that other residents were on the same track. How can we combine our information and activism to make sure that things stay on track at this property and provide information to the relevant city officials? Jim Graham was informed about the tax issue and has been useless in following through on comprehensive information he was provided. She needs to pay her taxes retroactively.

photos on Apr 20, 2011, 12:08:00 PM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I hope someone puts two and two together with regard to the dummy LLC name and her architecture firm. She should not be awarded DC contracts for architecture, like the school renovation projects Sorg has done, knowing there are outstanding taxes, no clean hands.

U Street Neighborhood Association on Apr 21, 2011, 2:37:00 PM said...

The best name for this church is actually the "First African New Church" as this was the name used when it was designated a historic DC Landmark in 2001, as a result of the efforts of the U Street Neighborhood Association (also know as the Cardozo-Shaw Neighborhood Association) -- online at http://www.ustreet-dc.org -- and neighbors who didn't want to see this bit of unique neighborhood history be razed (as was scheduled to happen).

"First African New Church" is also the name used when the church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in January 2009.

The impetus to landmarking this unique church is that the building is directly across the street from the boundary of the Greater U Street Historic District.

You view a full write-up about the amazing history of this church here >> http://72.52.242.20/~washingt/sites/default/files/SP_0706.pdf

Finally, its great to see this project finally move forward, as redevelopment of this building and the vacant lot has been an item of neighborhood discussion since at least 2000.

-- Bryan
-– U Street Neighborhood Association

Anonymous said...

Time out folks.... in this sort of real estate market who could blame a neighbor for feigning development if it will keep soft costs down! You won't see any development there until the economwy gets off its backside and revs up, then this will be just a distant memory with a nice new project for the tax assessor to hit ALL YOU PEOPLE with higher assessments and taxes! BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!!!

Stupid Logic said...

Why would anyone care about the tax assessments going up? .85%? Big deal. Only "old timers" in DC complain about the value of their property going up. Geesh - 90% of the country has homes that are half of what people paid for them. Only DC residents complain about the opposite - when their homes are now worth twice as much as they paid for them. Sell your home for a huge profit and move to PG County into a McMansion. The rest of us like our property value rising.

J Street said...

So, it's ok to break the tax law as long as she puts up a building later? Why not follow the law? The city passes laws but enforces nothing but parking violations. The city condemned the historically protected church to force her to fix it, but did nothing for years as it decayed and fell apart. Can anyone check campaign records? I bet Sorg contributed to JIM GRAHAM who showed his ignorance of the very laws passed by the city, and let her get away with all this even though he was presented with detailed information. Which journalist is going to do an investigation?

Anonymous said...

I live in the neighborhood. I just want to say that I am not so sure that their 'other' properties turned out great. I watched the re-pointing of The Beauregard all last year... Shouldn't pointing be required when a building is around 100 years old?

Burned by Robertson said...

I'm not sure whether it is the architect's fault or the developers fault that buildings don't turn out right - but Robertson Development gets too much credit for new buildings even though they fall apart after they go up. The Murano's extreme sewage back-up problem and the Beauregard's repointing problem are clearly the developer's fault.

SHAME_ON_SORG!! said...

Burned by Robertson: Yes, it seems like the rumored excellence of the Robertson-Sorg axis was/is all hot air. The problems with the Murano are caused by inexcusably sloppy oversight of poorly/incorrectly installed systems (water simply will not flow up hill for instance). The Beauregard had new exterior brick work being done AGAIN as recently as Thursday, 21 April. If a new condo building ever does rise from the rubble of the church, the city should be alerted to pay special attention to sewer, electric, and other inspections. So much of Sorg-Robertson work is attractive enough, but basically slap-dash, crappy construction.

U Street Neighborhood Association on Apr 23, 2011, 9:44:00 AM said...

The best name for this church is the "First African New Church" as this is the name used when it was designated a historic DC Landmark in 2001, as a result of the efforts of the U Street Neighborhood Association (www.ustreet-dc.org), and also when the church was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 2009.

The reason for landmarking this building was that it was scheduled to be razed, and it lays directly across the street from the boundary of the Greater U Street Historic District. The neighborhood association and neighbors worked together to raise funds for the landmarking process to keep this piece of unique District history to being lost.

See a full write-up about the amazing history of this church here >> http://72.52.242.20/~washingt/sites/default/files/SP_0706.pdf

It will be great to finally see some real work at this location, as redevelopment of this building and the vacant lot next to it has been discussed since at least 2001.

- Bryan
– U Street Neighborhood Association

J Street said...

It was great for the association to designate it as a landmark, but what has the Association done since 2002 to stop it from falling down? It has been neglected badly by the owner, the city, and the Association. A strong wind 2 years ago knocked out most of the upper back. While the Association seemed so concerned about designating it a landmark, I am interested in knowing what it did since 2002 to really protect it. The condemnation 3 years ago was useless because it ordered repairs that were never done. Why didn't the Association follow through?

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that both neighbors and the neighborhood association has filed complaints with the various owners of the building, DCRA, and the DC Historic Preservation Office over the state of the property.

The property is privately owned and the association has no ability (nor the legal rights) to make repairs or maintain the property.

J Street said...

It would be nice for a journalist to investigate why Sorg was so untouchable by so many DC laws and complaints.

Anonymous said...

It's 2013 already and the church ... SHAME ON SORG!!!!

Anonymous said...

http://www.popville.com/2010/11/update-on-old-church-at-10th-and-v-st-nw-shame-on-sorg/

 

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