Update: First Church is now The Sanctuary.
While the battle looms over the First United Methodist Church in downtown, a Capitol Hill sanctuary is finding new life…as a condo. The 1906 constructed First Church of Christ, Scientist, a beautiful grand dame of a building is being transformed in to luxury townhome condominiums while preserving the finely crafted interior architecture.
Thoughout August, key people associated with the project have been holding small focus group sessions to elicit opinions about the conversion from community members and prospective buyers. The last focus group is scheduled for August 31st. Register online at the First Church website if you’re interested.
The concept is to preserve the building’s structure & facade and convert the interior into high-end homes. The project team has been soliciting input for the demand and appeal of four huge townhome units or a number of smaller homes, so it’s not yet determined how the developer will proceed.
At the focus session I attend, the architect for the project touched upon the potential home designs and provided blueprint mock-ups. Should the final design incorporate only four townhomes (up to 3,000 sq ft), the main & top levels would soar nearly 35 feet to the curved ceilings. The voluminous open living space would be anchored by the massive original stain-glassed windows. The lower level would provide additional living space. Homes would have decks and either city or terriorial views.
The center of the building will be an atrium topped by the building’s spectacular glass dome. During the day, sunlight filters in providing light for the atrium and homes (via skylights), and at night, the dome would be backlit. Many of the building’s materials would be recycled – doors made out of pews and the city’s largest pipe organ could find homes in other santuaries.
The question remains, and it’s part of the reason for the focus group sessions, is whether the market and location could support multi-million dollar townhomes. The church is located just south of Group Health at the corner of Denny & 16th Avenue. There are other million dollar townhomes on Capitol Hill, but those are located in the historic Harvard Belmont district.