In gentrifying neighborhoods, a common theme has been the demolition of old churches and the construction of new homes in their place. We've seen this pattern repeated at 20th & Fitzwater where six homes replaced a church, at 19th & Catharine where ten homes rose in a church's place a few years after its demolition, at 19th & Poplar where duplexes got built instead of homes, and in other spots as well. So when we spotted a dumpster this weeked in front of 1609-11 Federal St., long the home of the New Hope Baptist Church, we figured history would be repeating itself once again.
Though you can see the church is no architectural marvel, it would still be a shame to see it torn down. And looking at the L&I Map, it seems that demolition, at least of the exterior, is not on the agenda. The church was purchased by developers at the end of last year, and those developers have pulled permits only for interior demolition at this point. Considering the fact that the property is zoned multi-family, we actually wouldn't be surprised to see the buildings converted into apartments- that might be a better play than trying to sell the buildings off as rehabs.
It's pretty clear that these buildings were not always a church and they were almost definitely either homes or apartments once upon a time. It's interesting to see that they'll soon be returning to their historic use. The church, in case you're wondering, is now located at 20th & Montrose.