A $2.8 million real estate listing is a harbinger of things to come at 23rd and Union. The Mount Calvary Christian Center, which unsuccessfully battled the neighboring Uncle Ike’s pot shop in court, is beginning the process of finding a new home closer to the areas where most of its congregation now lives.
“We’re still very much a part of the community,” Nicole Bascomb of Bascomb Real Estate Group and a member of Mount Calvary tells CHS, “and we’re going to be there for a while.”
But change has begun. Bascomb, daughter of longtime Central District real estate agent Paul Bascomb, has listed her church’s Joshua Generation Teen Center property on the west side of 23rd Ave across from Mount Calvary for $2,824,250.
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“Rare central Seattle find,” the listing reads, “zoned NC2P-55 located on highly traveled 23rd Avenue.”
The 8,690-square-foot parcels are “just waiting for the right investor to join the growing neighborhood business core of 23rd.” “A billboard lease” is also available “for additional income or removal.”
Bascomb said the time was right for the church to move forward with its plans and the first step was to sell off the teen center land.
“Our ministry is growing, this is the time to consider putting the property up for sale,” she said.
Mount Calvary has no plans — yet — to market its church property on the eastern side of 23rd Ave next to Uncle Ike’s. But these are times of “exciting changes” at the holistic ministry that has been part of 23rd Ave since 1992. Bascomb says that Pastor Reggie Witherspoon has been nominated as bishop for the church’s jurisdiction. And she says that Mount Calvary, like many Central District religious and community institutions, has seen its African American members leave the area and move south.
The Christian center has also tangled with the neighboring pot shop. In 2014, Witherspoon led a “Shut It Down” prayer rally against Ian Eisenberg’s first Uncle Ike’s. It eventually took Eisenberg to court but was ultimately unsuccessful in arguing that the shop should not have been allowed to open at the intersection in such close proximity to the church. Having made peace outside the courts, Mount Calvary decided to take some of Uncle Ike’s cash and sports billboard signs for the pot shop on its teen center property. UPDATE 1/8/2020: A representative for the church says it received no payment for Ike’s messaging and that the advertising was removed quickly after the church saw it posted by the billboard’s managing company.
It might be the right time to make the sale. Three of the four corners of 23rd and Union have been redeveloped and the fourth is about to be demolished so construction can begin on Midtown: Public Square, a project planned to create a set of seven-story apartment buildings with 429 apartment units and a new Bartell’s as an anchor retail tenant. Lake Union Partners also has developed The East Union building next to the teen center land where a New Seasons grocery market will soon open.
For now, Bascomb said the focus is on 23rd and Union and the hoped for sale of the teen center property. It will be time, eventually, for a new home.
“From a mission perspective of doing the work of god, we just don’t have the space,” Bascomb said.