Design Line
Thursday, March 9 2017

PROJECT COMPLETION: The Sanctuary at 819 D Street, NE

the sanctuary 819 D street

The Sanctuary is the product of an 18-month restoration and conversion of an iconic 1897 Capitol Hill Gothic Revival church into 30 unique residential condominiums.

the sanctuary 819 D street

In 1897, Architect Lawrence B. Valk and Son and Washington builder August Getz designed and constructed Ninth Street Christian Church. The Gothic Revival Church was adaptively preserved and repurposed into a contributing structure in the Capitol Hill Historic District located at 819 D Street NE, in Washington, DC. The project encompasses three buildings, the church and two adjacent townhouses, with a gross floor area of 34,693 square feet.


new exterior door

Large stained glass windows and the 85-foot bell tower that soars above the neighborhood define the historic church. Meticulous restoration and careful space planning transform the purpose-built spaces into 30 attractive and unique residential condominiums. Each unit has a distinctive floor plan, built with a focus on maximizing original features such as exposed brick walls and cast-iron columns. The hallmark of the restoration was the preservation of the original stained and leaded glass windows by Cumberland Stained Glass, Inc., each carefully reassembled by hand, using original glass or historically accurate reproduction glass.



The opportunity to restore this church arose because the congregation sought larger facilities and improved parking options. The congregation originally moved into the building on Capitol Hill on a temporary basis, after being displaced by Urban Renewal, and stayed much longer than they originally intended.

As the neighborhood improved and property values rose accordingly, the congregation was finally able to sell the building for enough to finance the construction of their new home. Other congregations have taken note of this success story, and ignited a burgeoning trend in DC of church-to-residential conversions. Washington DC is a city of old buildings that has been on the leading edge of historic preservation and adaptive reuse. While there have been conversions of churches into residences in the city before, the scope and complexity of the Sanctuary are unparalleled.

Located in the highly walkable Capitol Hill neighborhood, The Sanctuary is in close proximity to the US Capitol, downtown DC, Eastern Market, Stanton Park, H Street Corridor, nearby Metro stations, and two new grocery stores. The neighborhood around the building has become much more vibrant as the formerly dormant retail corridors of Barracks Row and H Street have awakened.

Driven by smart infrastructure investment in the form of mass transit, these areas have become prime examples of fully walkable communities with quick access to groceries, entertainment, parks, green space, nightlife, employment centers, and shopping. While many new developments in the city cling to the traditional paradigm of multiple amenities in the building to keep people inside, here the community is the greatest amenity. Residents engage with their neighbors and community, and units are their sanctuaries in the modern city.

tower unit

the sanctuary

With a sales rate faster than any other project delivering in DC at the same time, congratulations to our client, the Rubin Group & Regua, our talented team of architects, consultants, and general contractor, Potomac Construction Group.

Photography ©