Tuesday, April 17, 2012

For Sale: "Church"

One Silver Spring structure that has bugged me for some time is the office-building-turned-church located at 880 Bonifant Street. For years this was a nondescript mid-century commercial structure until a significant addition turned it into one of the biggest eyesores in all of downtown Silver Spring (and that's saying a lot).

I sincerely hope that the purchasers of this prime real estate, located just blocks from DTSS and surrounded by the future library, the planned development on the adjacent block and the so-called Fenton Street Village, demolish this Frankensteinian abomination and replace it with something that isn't painful to behold. Of course, without owning the adjacent gas station property, options could be somewhat limited.

Oddly, the real estate company handling the sale has opted to include a decades-old pre-renovation "before" photo in the listing. (Note the doing-giant-lines-of-cocaine-in-the-back 80's limo parked in the gas station lot to the right.)

I don't know what the future plans are for the Iglesia De Restauracion congregation, which presently utilizes this building as a house of worship, though a far more conventional church structure just happens to be available up Georgia Avenue:

Thanks to BR for alerting me to the listing.


Anonymous said...

Noticed the "for sale" banner the other day, too. While it'd be nice for the adjacent gas station to be lumped in with the redevelopment, I think the more important (and probably more likely to be redeveloped) parcel on the other side of this church - the county parking lot. It's a prime chunk of land that is obviously very underutilized.

I'd love to see a public-private partnership like with the downtown Bethesda surface lot that was just closed for construction. Sell (or give away, depending on the value) the land to the developer, but require X number of underground spaces reserved for public use.

Anonymous said...

When that ugly building sat empty for years I always had the strongest urge to throw a rock through one of those windows.

I don't think the parking lot is underutilized. It is generally close to full after hours. Mostly cars from the apartment building. They are people either too cheap to buy a spot in the apartment garage or there are no more spots available. Being the meter maids work the same 9-5 time slot as the residents I think it is residents being cheap. It costs $70 a month to park in the garage.

I think the apartment management should be given an opportunity to purchase, maybe, half of the parking lot. Then maybe the rest of the parking lot could be forged with the building. Also, the house in between is also for sale. I think it's been 15 years since the house has been used for anything. Sad because you'd think someone could make good use of it.

TC said...

OMG this is great news! This and about 50% of the other DTSS buildings should be demolished and redeveloped. Whoever thought up this architecture never actually studied it.

The gas station could go to or perhaps the other one that is 1-BLOCK away. Does anyone else think it's ridiculous that Fenton St has 2 gas stations in a 1-block radius?

Anonymous said...

I don't know what is great news here. A building is up for sale. That means the tenants are likely to move out. Doesn't mean somebody is about to move in or a buyer is going to come in and tear down the building and replace it with a bar that has a nightly wet t-shirt contest (although that would be great.) There is a chance something could in this rea could be improved, but it could just as easily turn into a negative (think empty building.)

I have no problem with 2 gas stations close to one another. Happens many a times all over the place. Would I rather have a bar featuring a nightly wet t-shirt contest - sure. But, I also appreciate having those gas stations nearby.

Sligo said...

That gas station sucks. It's 2012 and their pumps don't have credit card readers.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

Maybe the Before photo is included as a small warning to potential buyers. Don't let ugly arsed remodeling happen to you, too!

The Before is actually a nice little mid-century building. It could have been buffed up a bit and been a lovely retro look.

Anonymous said...

"I don't think the parking lot is underutilized. It is generally close to full after hours."

I wasn't trying to say that the parking lot doesn't have cars using it, I was trying to say that surface parking on that block is nonsensically underutilizing the lot at this point. Get the parcel into private hands, redevelop it, and require however many parking spots the county projects is needed to be set aside for public use. Hopefully the cost of putting them underground would be viable, but worst case is that the parking has to go on floors 2-3 like the neighboring Silver Spring Towers.

Anonymous said...

@Sligo - The gas station can read credit cards at the pump. Granted they were late to the game on that one, but I think they've had them for a couple of years now. But no, not the place to buy gas because finding cheaper gas isn't that far away.

Citgo has a nice owner who's helped numerous times in past years by lending me his door opener for locked keys, giving me advise on how to do my own fixes, done a repair for me a couple of times for next to nothing, and so on. I only buy gas there for my lawnmower (don't shoot me Takoma Park people.)

And the other gas station has, or had, a good little parts department.

Again, I don't see where the animosity toward a couple of gas stations comes from. They both seem to be running a good business and keep it relatively clean. Although, I think Citgo might have a few too many cars on their lot right now.

A said...

"...one of the biggest eyesores in all of downtown Silver Spring"

Wow, that's pretty harsh. The building may not have the best architecture, but at least it is fairly well maintained and not falling apart. That can't be said for many of the buildings (and some houses) that are just south a few blocks along Fenton and the other side streets.

Andrew said...

I will be excited for the building to go away - while it might be too much to wish for a private developer to make the whole area (parking, old house, and church) into something noteworthy, it at least gives us hope...

I agree that Citgo, while looking a little worn down, has a top notch mechanic who honestly assesses your car and tells you what he thinks. I only take my car to him exclusively because he consistently has not only been right, but actually does seem to care about keeping customers, not extorting them.

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