Central Union Mission building trades hands

The Central Union Mission has sold its 14th Street headquarters in Northwest D.C. for $7 million to development company Alturas LLC as it prepares to move to other locations in the District.

The sale marks the culmination of a years-long effort by the nonprofit to find a new location. At one point, the mission withdrew its plans to move to another site after facing intense community opposition.

The purchase by Alturas clear the way for the historic four-building complex’s conversion into a new residential and retail complex at 14th and R streets NW. Alturas principal Jeffrey Schonberger said he hopes to start renovations on the building in the next few weeks. The project is slated to include 51 residential units and about 8,000 to 10,000 square feet of retail space. He said he is considering apartments or for-sale condo units.

“It’s going to be a high-quality development,” Schonberger said. “From our perspective, we’re building a condo-quality development.”

Alturas has retained McCullough Construction for the renovations. It is also working with architecture firm Eric Colbert & Associates PC and Hapstack Demetriou+PLLC on the building’s design. Schonberger said he is excited to finally be moving forward with the project, which he believes is in a prime location on the 14th Street corridor and was worth the wait to acquire.

The mission plans to move its headquarters to 2600 12th St. NE on Monday. Its ministry programming and shelter is expected to move to the city-owned Gales School at 65 Massachusetts Ave. NW once renovations to that building are completed this summer.

The mission had a contract to sell its headquarters to Alturas in 2006, but that deal was derailed due to community resistance, Mission Exeuctive Director David Treadwell said.

The mission wanted to swap its headquarters for properties that Alturas owned at at 3512 Georgia Ave. NW, but neighborhood groups opposed a move to that location. The D.C. Council voted two years ago to clear a $400,000 tax bill on the building because the mission has a small budget and would have difficulty fulfilling its mission if it had to pay the taxes.

The mission then reached a deal to relocate its services to the Gales School and its administrative offices to 2600 12th St. Treadwell said the move will enable the Mission to serve more of the city’s homeless population than it could reach from 14th Street.

The sale was brokered by Blake Dickson Real Estate Services, which commended Alturas for its perseverance in bringing the sale to completion.

“In doing so, this historic and singular trophy 14th Street building will be reborn to a first rate residential and retail complex topping a decade of remarkable development on the 14th Street, NW corridor,” Blake said in a brochure announcing the sale.