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Central Union Mission Moves Out, Condos Moving In


Central Union Mission’s  home at the southeast corner of  14th and R Streets. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com. 

Central Union Mission has been helping serve the DC homeless population for more than a century, and has been rooted in the Logan Circle community for nearly 30 years.

But now the organization – a faith-based non-profit that offers shelter, food and a variety of counseling services – is building a new home at 65 Massachusetts Avenue NW, leaving behind its building at 14th and R Streets NW. When Central Union Mission moved to Logan Circle in 1984, just south of the U Street corridor, many people in the neighborhood relied on services provided by Central Union Mission and other social service organizations.

However, the area’s real estate boom and socio-economic transition brought in a wave of wealth along a street that replaced drug dealers, prostitution and crime. For example, the Aston and Northern Exchange luxury condo buildings are entering the final phases of construction across the street.

“I remember when 14th Street had, what you might want to call ‘streetwalkers,’ ” said Shirley Johnson, director of social work at Central Union Mission, in an article for WAMU. “But, you know that people we serve…. could not afford anything around here now.”

In true 14th Street fashion, the old the building of Central Union Mission will be transformed into a residential unit, shortly after the Mission vacates the area. Urban Turf reported in March that “the wheels are in motion” for a 51-unit condo building from Eric Colbert at the site of the Mission.

Eric Colbert of Eric Colbert & Associates, the architect on the project, said he is hoping to start construction on the development this spring, with a projected building time of 14 months until the project is complete. Colbert told Borderstan that the building will have first-floor retail, in addition to the upper-level residences. The owner of the project has not decided if the residences will be to own or rent.

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