The former Calvary Baptist Church at 655 N. 16th St. is being converted into ten residential units by Loonstyn Bros. LLC. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because the developer is the brother of Bill Loonstyn Jr. of Loonstyn Properties, who is also doing significant development in Fairmount at this time. We went by the church a couple of weeks ago and were able to peer inside at the demolished interior.
The facade of the building is going to stay pretty much the same, though it will get cleaned up significantly. The steps will be replaced, and new garden areas will be built in the front. The windows for the residences will be, for the most part, in the existing window openings, and some balconies will be built for units on the north side of the building. It appears that the stained glass windows will all be replaced. Makes sense, but still a shame.
We have not gotten confirmation on whether the apartments will be rentals or condos, nor do we know anything about finishes or price points. What we do know right now is that, in a time when most developers are ready and willing (and sometimes enthusiastic) to tear down existing structures, Loonstyn is taking the path less traveled and adapting an existing building to a new use. With all the exciting development happening on and around Fairmount Ave., this will certainly be another positive step for the neighborhood. Maybe once he’s done with the former church, Mr. Loonstyn will want to tackle the property across the street, which could use a little TLC to say the least.