- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mount Carmel Baptist Church has joined some of Washington’s biggest real estate developers to build a 350,000-square-foot office and residential complex in Mount Vernon Triangle.

Unlike most mixed-use buildings in a downtown area filling with corporate offices, government agencies and law firms, this one will include a church school for kindergarten through third-grade students.

“There aren’t many churches that are developers,” said Mafara Hobson, spokeswoman for the National Capital Revitalization Corp. (NCRC), which is spearheading the project at Third and H streets Northwest. The NCRC is a public-private venture that promotes economic development in the District.

Developers Quadrangle Development Corp. and the Wilkes Co. also are participating in the project.

The complex is designed to include 90,000 square feet of office space, 250,000 square feet of residential units and 10,000 square feet for the church children’s academy. About 20 percent of the residential units will be set aside for affordable housing.

The church will own a “significant” part of the three-building complex and expand parking for its parishioners, said Charles “Sandy” Wilkes, chairman of the Wilkes Co.

“That will secure a permanent endowment for the school,” Mr. Wilkes said. “This church, unlike so many others, will not have to leave the District of Columbia due to a lack of parking for its parishioners.”

Construction work on the office building already has started. The developers plan to close on land for the residential units and school in December.

The NCRC says Mount Carmel Baptist Church’s participation in a major real estate development is not so unusual when its 150-year influence in the Mount Vernon community is considered.

“The church is a major stakeholder in the neighborhood,” said Marisa Gaither, NCRC’s director of real estate transactions.

In other news …

• Washington real estate developer Akridge plans to begin construction in early 2007 on a 300,000-square-foot office project at 700 Sixth St. NW, seizing on one of the few opportunities available for a large downtown building.

“It’s one of the last significant development sites in the urban core and the last in Penn Quarter,” said Mary Margaret Hiller, Akridge spokeswoman. “There just aren’t any sites left.”

Instead of building up in the urban core, developers have been edging their way east toward the Capitol.

• Property Lines runs on Thursdays. Contact Tom Ramstack at 202/636-3180 or e-mail [email protected]

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