Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Synagogue - 16th and Gaylord - Salvation at Last

I have personally been plagued by the existence of this building since I first moved to the neighboring block 37 years ago. I owned the building across the street on York from 1979 to 1993 during the "tumultuous years".

Rough Chronology

  • 1926 Built by orthodox Jewish community. No parking needed because worshipers walked as required by edict from God.

  • 1950-60 abandoned by Jewish Community
  • 1970's - Native American Center - Federal program brought in hundreds of distraught Indians.

  • Late 70's - Jazzercise - Exercise program brought in loud music and hundreds of jumping weight-losers.

  • 1980's - Various attempts to turn it into an events center brought in thousands of partyers, and with them many needles, car thefts, rapes and stabbings.

  • 1990's - Dana Crawford brought in plans but failed to condominiumize.

  • 2000 - Sullivan brought in Irish who spent $1 million trying but failed to raise $3.5 million to rehab.

  • 2007 - Broken windows and leaking roof bring in hundreds of pigeons and much rain water .....until .....

  • 2008 - Real estate developer brings in The Church in the City and distraught neighbors bring in fear of the homeless and concern about parking problems.

Developer St Charles Town Company (SCTC) wants to build high-rise mixed use apartments and retail at (A) site of old Safeway (current assessed value $3,538,100), converted to church by Church in the City (CITC) and occupied by them for past 16 years.

During their 16 year tenure, CITC has improved and maintained the property. In addition to holding services and sharing the building with 3 other congregations, they have held weekly outdoor feedings of the homeless accompanied by amplified music. I had on one occasion asked them to turn down the music, and they did.

CITC still has 4 years to go on their 20 year lease, so SCTC buys (B), old synagogue ($850,000) for CITC to move into. Old synagogue has no parking, so CITC arranges to use East High parking at (C). Church moving into church - no zoning hassles.

A neighborhood group held a meeting to express their fears of the homeless. I attended but defer to Rory Seeber who has the complete story at Life on Capitol Hill.

Apparently the fearful have overcome their fears as the project is, today, going full steam ahead.


  1. Anonymous5:27 PM

    This looks like a great project. Bringing a church into a Synogogue. i hope they don't over run the Jewishness, but embrase it and add it to who they are.