Update on Rock Creek Church development

Demolition of the Rock Creek Church at 8th & Upshur St NW

Matt Scorzafava, a partner with ERB Properties, the company developing the Rock Creek Church location, sent me an email with some updated information on the upcoming development.  

The four new rowhouses being built will each hold two units, so eight units and eight parking spaces total. There will be two units with 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths, while the other six will be 2 bedroom plus den and 2 1/2 bath. (Prices obviously haven't been set, but anecdotally, from Petworth News' perspective and from recent area sales for similar condos, we're guessing we'll see sale prices likely in the very high $600's.)

The new rowhouses will be an estimated 3-5 feet above the current homes on 8th Street (allowable by current zoning regulations), and will have a deck, not a porch. They will be 20' x 48' and 18' x 48' roughly. The lots are 20 x 100 and 18 x 100. 

"The new homes will be significantly set back from the alley compared to the Church," Matt said. "The homes will have decks, a small yard and parking in each back yard. The church had virtually no back yard off the alley."

Pest control / rate abatement has been a concern for nearby residents, and Matt forwarded an email thread starting in September 2016 between ERB and residents showing how they've been working together to treat the property after the sale, during demolition, and plans for after.  ERB has contracted with a company called PestNow.

There was some discussion regarding hours the construction crew will work, and Matt thought the article wasn't clear. According to Matt, they don't plan to work past cutoff time (they're permitted to work right up to 7pm, Monday - Saturday), but that they should not be working past cut off time. 

"We may work all the hours allowed but I did not say we will work all the hours. I tried to explain that I would rather tell the group we will be working on Saturdays, instead of telling them something that is untrue," Matt said.

ERB rendering of the new rowhouses, courtesy Chris Broderick. 

The side of the church near Upshur Street currently has a small side yard and additional green space. The new homes will be closer to the side walk by a few feet but will not eliminate the green space on the Upshur-facing side. There will be trees and shrubs planted on that side, and there will be brick on the front of the buildings as well.

"The front face of the new homes will match the front face of the homes on the block with a bay projection," Matt said. "The green space in the front will be similar to the green space of the rest of the block."

Finally, Matt said that to address the neighbor who emailed Petworth News with her concerns, "We have owned the property for about 6 months, not a year. We have been in communication with our local ANC member [John-Paul Hayworth, 4C07] for about 4 months when he reached out to us. We agreed to have a community meeting shortly after contact was made."

To ensure neighbors understand, the church decided to sell the property and searched for a developer -- the church was not pushed out. The majority of the Rock Creek Church's congregation lives in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and that is where the church has relocated. The sale of the property generated $2.2 million for the church and for the existing rowhouse at 4207 8th Street NW (which will also be torn down).  

12/1 update: On a side note, according the ERB, it was the pastor of Rock Creek Baptist church who required that the redevelopment of the property disallow a new church from taking possession, not wanting it to be used by another religious organization.

(Ed note: I clarified a statement above regarding potential sale price, ensuring it's a guess from Petworth News and not the developer.)

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