NE Coffeeshop Clears Zoning Hurdles

Posted May 13, 2003 at 3:01pm

After dealing with red tape for more than a year, the green structure on the corner of F and Second streets Northeast finally has some good news — it will soon become a coffeeshop.

Officials at National Community Church, which bought the property in February 2002, have been waiting for the city to rezone the land for commercial use instead of residential.

The goal is for the $2.5 million coffeehouse to be restored to its original 1908 use, said Mark Batterson, the church’s pastor. The space near Union Station had been used as a lunch counter.

An act of Congress in February 1903 stipulated that the station be built north of the Capitol, and the increased traffic in the area created the demand for a restaurant.

“Our dream is to open a first-class, fully operational coffeehouse to celebrate the history of the neighborhood,” Batterson said.

This plan is now in the architectural design phase, and workers will likely break ground by 2004, he said.

The rezoning took a lot longer than church officials anticipated, Batterson said. Since the church announced the plans last year, several area neighbors have often inquired about the shop’s status.

Before the renovation starts, the building will get a facelift later this month to get rid of the green paint, Batterson said.

The 400-member church meets Sunday mornings in a Union Station movie theater.

“We just really hope to be transforming what was an eyesore into a pretty cool place,” Batterson said.