Affordable Housing Could Replace Columbia Pike Church

Arlington Presbyterian Church (via Preservation Arlington)Local preservationists are calling for changes to a plan to tear down a Columbia Pike church and replace it with affordable housing.

The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing is proposing to demolish the Arlington Presbyterian Church at 3507 Columbia Pike and replace it with an affordable apartment complex.

APAH worked in partnership with church leaders to develop a plan that would build a new, 7,100 square foot church within a five-story, 142-unit apartment building. The proposal also includes a space for nonprofit child care and ground floor retail intended for a coffee shop.

The church approached APAH with the idea of building affordable housing on its site, according to a presentation the church made to its congregation in August. APAH laid out a timeline that would start with signing a lease by the end of the year, starting demolition in early 2016 and opening in late 2017.

The proposal is similar to the Views at Clarendon project, which built an affordable apartment building on top of an existing church. Unlike that project, however, the Arlington Presbyterian Church proposal would not preserve the existing structure.

Arlington Presbyterian Church proposalThe group Preservation Arlington is calling for a new plan that would preserve the church, which was built in 1931.

“The church and APAH aim to fill a urgent need for affordable housing and serving the community,” Preservation Arlington writes on its website. “In the process though, they will destroy a tangible link and reminder of how communities are built and how they last but change over time. They and all Arlington residents will lose a fine representation of church architecture and a recognizable landmark on the Pike.”

Preservation Arlington suggests housing the coffee shop in part of the church or the child care center in the former sanctuary.

APAH plans on submitting a proposal to the county for the redevelopment in 2014. The plans are within the parameters of the Columbia Pike Form Based Code, meaning APAH will not have to seek additional density from the County Board.

Photo via Preservation Arlington

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