If you hear church bells ringing, it might be no more than an echo. Okay, that might be a tad dramatic –– there are plenty of places of worship untouched by DC’s growing pains. Still though, it’s only right to acknowledge that as development creeps up in unsuspecting corners, some of DC’s establishments get pushed out. That is the case as The Perla, one of DC’s developments in the works, comes to fruition in the heart of Shaw.

Before we dive into “the new,” let’s first take stock of “the old.” The location of the development is 810 O St. NW, which previously was the home of Scripture Cathedral. Described by the Washington Post as “one of the city’s most prominent black churches,” and once on their website as “the church in the heart of the city, with the people of the city in the hearts.” After 25 years of serving DC from its very center, however, Scripture decided to follow an increasing number of their members to the suburbs in 2013. In doing so, they made a deal with local developers, Four Points, and the Warrenton Group. The deal sold the building to the developers for $10.5 million.

Of course, even though that deal transpired in 2013, buildings don’t flip overnight. Developments, as I often reiterate, are slowed down due to timelines that are heavily dependent on Zoning Commission permissions, construction permits, and more. The demolition of the old church didn’t take place until November 2017, as initially reported by PoPville.

With the church gone, much of the area’s focus , naturally, has shifted to the question of what, precisely, is next. The answer, in development by Four Points and the Warrenton Group, is “The Perla,: a mixed-use, nine-story condo building that will ultimately take the place of Scripture Cathedral.

After developers won over the space to bring to The Perla to life, they were also in need of the funding. Financing for the project has come together through a $35M construction loan from CapitalSource in conjunction with a $14million mezzanine investment from Aria Development Capital.

The Perla will cater to Shaw’s ever-growing needs for housing opportunities, offering up 66 condos in addition to 68 underground parking spaces and just under 7,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. BizJournal previously quoted the development application, giving further insight into the development’s vision:

“The project will provide new housing opportunities to District residents, including new affordable housing, and will help to further rejuvenate the surrounding neighborhood by proving new retail opportunities ad an improved pedestrian experience at the street level.”

Beyond what the building will offer, the development team has also been kept in check to ensure that the building does not look out-of-place as a modern construction juxtaposed next to many historic, older buildings.

“Like much of the architect’s work, the proposal has a modulated sculptural quality that is rare for contemporary construction and which further helps soften the building’s size in relation to the surrounding smaller scaled historic buildings.”

Although The Perla has been in DC’s pipeline for awhile now, the light at the end of the tunnel for this development is seemingly (finally) in sight. Construction is officially underway, and the targeted deadline gives the project an estimated finish time about a year out from now, set tentatively for April 2019.

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