Shiloh Baptist Church to Sell Two Run Down Properties in Shaw


DCist broke the story yesterday saying:

“The church membership voted last Wednesday to move forward with plans to sell its properties at 1600 8th Street NW and 1543 8th Street NW, with the hope that the sales will generate enough capital to begin long-discussed plans to renovate a string of units in the 1500 block of 9th Street NW. Plans for the Shiloh-owned 9th Street properties include a senior citizen center and/or housing, and a youth learning center.”

The Washington Post followed up today saying:

“Last week’s decision by members of Shiloh Baptist Church, at Ninth and P streets NW, could remove a stumbling block to the rebirth of the blighted neighborhood around the Washington Convention Center. Neighbors have complained for years that seven crumbling buildings that the church owns along Eighth and Ninth streets were attracting drug users and adding to a sense of decay in the area.”

These properties have long been a blight on the Shaw neighborhood. While I admire the church’s desire to build affordable housing, the fact that they weren’t actually doing it, means that this was the right move for them and for the revival of that block. What do you think – does this signify that the last stumbling block to the revival of this section of Shaw has been removed?

34 Comment

  • Let the Shiloh bashing begin.

    Btw, what does that cafe have to do with the article?

  • Hardly the “last stumbling block.” There is not even a public listing for the building yet. It will need to be listed at a low-to-reasonable price, given that the building is possibly a complete loss and investing there is probably a bit of a risk. So, both properties will need to be picked up by a responsible yet adventurous developer with the wherewithal to see it through. I don’t think socially minded developers are going to be knocking down Shiloh’s door to compete for it. And then Shiloh will actually need to dump whatever money it makes into renovating and updating its own properties. And is Shiloh really going to make enough money on those two properties to fund the renovation of the others?

  • I think this is a step in the right direction.

  • um, that wasn’t meant to sound quite that pessimistic as it came out. here’s hoping.

  • @Hoodrat: Sometimes the truth hurts, even your own truth.

  • Someone set them up for a racial discrimination sting during the sales process, please. Make money make money money!

  • sounds like shiloh wants to avoid the 10% tax for nuisance properties. i’ll believe this when i see it, especially since they tried this b.s. before.

    here’s a little history, from 2007

    nothing has changed. i say this is 1% likely to happen.

  • yeah, what does the cafe image have to do with this story?

    shiloh’s earned the right to be bashed. it’s not like they’re the poor widdle trod-upon church here.

  • Time will tell if this proves to be a collective step forward for Shiloh and Shaw.

    Shiloh’s 8th Street properties have been havens for criminal activity, trash, graffiti, etc. for a long time. As they are both corner properties, they significantly impact the look and feel of the 1500 and 1600 blocks of 8th Street, NW and of the 800 and 900 blocks of Q Street, NW. The sale and redevelopment of these properties would definitely be a big improvement for the area.

    All eyes are on Shiloh as they move forward with putting these properties on the market. Hopefully they know this and will set the asking prices at reasonable amounts and without unworkable contingencies.

  • Yeah, Gori Cafe is on 12th and V not really where the Shiloh properties are…

  • Certainly a step forward, but not nearly as much of a step as much want to think it is. I’m guessing they’re saying this to avoid another year or two of vacant assessments on their property until the market picks up. We won’t see any progress on these. And, yes, Thor, Shiloh is a terrible neighbor. An awful neighbor.

    When these properties do sell, don’t get your hopes up for any scuttlebutt either. They brought a tank to a gun fight over the Vegetate/Queen of Sheba liquor licenses and almost sued a new Coffee Shop for having too many chairs. They can’t stand anything that turns shaw into anything else besides a refuge for crack addicts, and it’s infuriating for them to see a small sliver of vibrancy returning to the neighborhood they all abandonded for PG county decades ago.

  • WOW! What a step in the right direction!

    Shiloh is absolutely evil and I once met an ex-parishioner who talked alot about their refusal to accept that Christians are supposed to be humble before god.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    @Imgoph and U Street – yes obviously that was a mistake. The dangers of late night blogging…

  • Enough with the Shiloh bashing. It’s not an “evil” church and most of the things I’ve read in the comments aren’t true. It’s a good thing that they’re selling the buildings and developers will compete to pay top dollars for the building because it’s in Shaw!

    I don’t think any church in DC wants a liquor store on the corner of its location. I’m sure there will be contigencies not to build such stores with the properties.

  • It’s a good thing they’re selling, but why did it take them DECADES to do it?

    I don’t envy the developer who has to get rid of all the rats and the pee smell and the dead hookers.

  • here’s a little history, from 2007


    Here’s Shiloh (from the Post) circa 1990:

    Sound familiar?

    Enough with the Shiloh bashing. It’s not an “evil” church

    Hey, there the religious ones. Either these terms have a meaning, or they don’t.

  • petworthian – which things in the comments aren’t true exactly? I’m curious.

    and what the hell are you talking about with the liquor store comments? who’s building a liquor store? there is ALREADY a long-standing liquor store on its corner!!

  • yeah let’s quote the key part of that post article – from TWENTY F—ING YEARS AGO:

    “Church officials told the neighbors they had hired an architect to draw up plans to convert some of the properties into market rate housing and offices. The neighbors pleaded to keep the neighborhood residential and suggested housing for seniors and others on low incomes.”

    “Last month the church said it will consider an offer by MANNA Inc., a nonprofit housing development group invited to a meeting by the neighbors, to turn two properties at Ninth and Q streets NW into below-market housing.”

    “A city official close to the situation said the underlying problem at Shiloh may be poor management.”

    “[Johnnie A. Howard, chairman of the Shiloh Board of Trustees] said a first priority of the board now is to renovate the properties. ‘We have plans for putting the properties back in service . . . . We’re not just sticking our noses in the air and saying we’ll get to this when we get good and ready.’”

  • Any church that deals in hookers, rats and pee cannot be a Christian church. I believe they are a satanic organization.

  • Jesus preached to the “fallen women.” He could also walk on pee. Or water. Or something.

  • Perhaps not evil per se, but a horrible and irresponsible neighbor at the very least.

  • If the properties are sold, I fully expect Shiloh to launch a full bore opposition against the development permit applications made by whichever developer purchases those properties. And that will be a sight to behold.

  • @JustMe –

    Now that would be funny – sell the properties to a developer and then protest whatever the developer decides to build.

    I think there are plenty of stumbling blocks remaining. A buyer has to be found with the vision to see what could be built and the capital to build it. And the community has to allow that to happen. I can already hear the “We don’t need another [insert name of trendy gentrified neighborhood].”

  • by evil, I meant virulently anti-gay right wingers. If that’s not evil to you then that’s fine, but it counts with me. I knew a former parishioner who wouldn’t deal with them anymore and considered them just slightly above con artists.

    I think it’s safe to say they act to maintain the ethnic balance of the neighborhood just like white citizens councils did in the 1950s.

  • Neener – you must have never visited Shiloh, otherwise you would know that its farther from right-wing or anti-gay. But no use of me trying to get my point across — i’m an openly black gay man who’s an active member of Shiloh and I actually am a homeowner in Shaw.

    Eric in Ledroit – you seem a bit too touchy on this issue concerning Shiloh..

  • I was very frustrated by the bullshit they put the owners of Vegetate and BeBar through (particularly Vegetate). Are you going to defend what they did in those cases?

    So I’m not “touchy” I’m well-educated on the history of their lies about the disposition of their property and the many ways they have held their community back.

    I don’t personally know any parishioners or live near the church – I was just appalled about the Vegetate situation (then the BeBar situation).

  • I understand your point Eric in Ledroit. But think about it — most churches in DC will fight against having a night club/bar one block from their front door. You also should try to keep in mind that most of the predominantely black churches in Shaw have been there for many years and don’t see all PROS in gentrification/redevelopment.

    As a homeowner in Shaw, I want to see my community thrive and all the houses on the block look great — it boosts my property value. But I also recognize the view of Shiloh — which still serves the homeless and drug addicts in Shaw.

    True, Shiloh hasn’t been a good neighbor. Our church suffered a masssive fire about 18 years ago and funds allocated toward redevelopment years ago had to take a back seat. Today, all churches are struggling with finances due to this sour economy — hence the sell of property. However, Shiloh still plans for redevelopment of the building Shiloh owns. When? When finances improve.

    Shiloh isn’t going anywhere and I’m not moving from Shaw. I think civil dialogue between Shaw residents and Shiloh should take place. Civil. Come visit Shiloh. I know you’ll find we’re not right-wingers who hate. See what we actually do for the Shaw community and help us to see where we can improve.

  • petworthian have you ever been in Vegetate? I can’t imagine for the life of me what is objectionable about that place. Oh and as long as we’re going to bring race into it, Vegetate is owned by a black man.

    Not to mention, there is already a crappy corner liquor store right by the church.

    You’re right – Shiloh doesn’t see the pros in any development at all. They are perfectly happen to just keep things boarded up and impoverished. Read that article from the post twenty years ago – they’ve been talking this “we’re going to build community centers / senior housing / whatever” game about their boarded up properties for 20+ years.

  • also – i don’t see how “the value of shiloh” being helping the homeless and drug addicts in shaw has anything to do with protesting DJ Dredd’s liquor license for Vegetate and almost running him out of business, nor keeping several blocks desolate and empty. I regularly volunteer at Miriam’ Kitchen, in the west end near my work; it is in a church which provides a mountain of social services for the poor and homeless (90+% of whom are african-american) but doesn’t actively work to keep any class, race, or developer from uplifting the community.

  • I once knew an ex-Shiloh parishioner who I would call a 65 year old malcontent of the “African-American church industry” (her words). When too many ex-offenders “Go straight” and work in churches there is concern that they never went straight at all.

    The first problem is that we don’t speak the same language and liquor licenses for sit-down restaurants is the first evidence of this. What is a definition of sin? A definition of service? A definition of staying humble before god? Ideas of certainty and faith vs continual self-analysis? we don’t speak the same language.

  • Why should Shiloh care about what’s next door? For them to fight the other elements in the hood and not contribute to it’s betterment is disingenuous (and that’s being kind). Few of their members actually live in the hood, with the exception of Petworthian, (we see the many Maryland plates on Sunday). Frankly, it’s disgraceful that a Christian baptist church has allowed this situation to develop and disintegrate to the point that it has. If they care so much, where are the members offering their own time and man power to renovate the church owned properties and correct these problems in the neighborhood? Where are the church resources to support these efforts? Imagine all of the improvements that could have occurred by now. Imagine all of the $$ Shiloh could have made if they had put in the effort to make these properties livable. Imagine all of the homeless families in the city that could have found assistance and safety if these properties had been livable and supported by Shiloh. The best thing Shiloh can do now, is sell the properties to people who care, can, and will improve the neighborhood by providing these services. That would be the essence of being a good neighbor.

  • Wow. I hope the Shaw community and Shiloh will get along.

  • The name should be changed from Shiloh to SHE baptist church.. How many get the transition.

  • Neener Says: Shiloh is absolutely evil.

    This, I hope is, tongue in cheek.

    I sometimes attend service at Shiloh, though I am not a member. They have been in the community when most people of means black / white abandoned Shaw. It has already been mentioned that they rebuilt after the fire when most churches were abandoning the city for Prince Georges County. Shiloh of course would prefer to improve the properties in question, why wouldn’t they? There have been some internal leadership issues over the years, the economy has factored in of late also a church’s primary purpose is worship . I also think the local neighbors thought they would be able to force Shiloh to develop the property on their timeline with a development consistent with their vision of the neighborhood not Shiloh’s. Shiloh dug in (out of spite maybe a little, petty a little) but had the neighbors approached Shiloh another way it would have been better for the neighborhood. (BTW –before you even start , I live in DC, though not Shaw, I drive to service I park a few blocks away in a very legal public spot and I would never block anyone in I would prefer to see the properties developed but those couple of properties are not holding SHAW back from a blue ribbon. I also know Shaw has already come a long way, at least people car now.)

    “Perhaps not evil per se, but a horrible and irresponsible neighbor at the very least.”
    Irresponsible? They have health fairs, scouting, fellowship services maybe YOU do not need but they do serve the community. So your comment Is not a lie per se, but lazy, incomplete or misleading?

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