This formerly vacant neogothic cathedral is a Heritage Hill gem. After falling into disrepair and vacancy for seven years, the historic Bethlehem Lutheran church joined the 616 Lofts community as the Tribe’s most unique project yet.
Housing demand from the Medical Mile makes Heritage Hill a very desirable location for many moving to the area, and the church is a short 10 minute walk to the city center. 26 on site parking spaces eliminate residents’ need to find on-street parking in this dense neighborhood.
22 market rate residential apartments, including three bi-level true lofts filling the former sanctuary, make up the 616 Lofts on Prospect community. A common room and storage are available to residents at the garden level.
historic meets urban living
Residents at 616 Lofts on Prospect enjoy all the standard amenities found in other 616 Lofts communities, in addition to enjoying historical features such as stained glass, ornate plaster and arched ceilings:
As a result of economic and cultural shifts, historic churches across the country which once housed congregational communities have become vacant. Many of these, tragically, have been left to decay, or have been torn down. Others have been upcycled into a new kind of community: residential. The historic, neo-gothic cathedral at the corner of Crescent and Prospect in Heritage Hill is one such building.
Built in 1925 by the Bethlehem Lutheran congregation, the church was left empty in 2007 when the congregation, faced with extensive and costly building repairs, left to pursue social justice in downtown’s Heartside district. Despite the beautiful structure’s value, it remained vacant. An attempt to turn the church into luxury condominiums failed to take root in the wake of recession. In 2013, the 616 Tribe was presented with the opportunity to turn the church in to a new lofts community.
Despite the project’s relatively small size and the high challenge it would pose for construction, the Tribe felt revitalizing the old church was important for the city. Adaptive reuse projects like 616 Lofts on Prospect were part of the Tribe’s DNA, and they were up for a new challenge. The Tribe acquired the property in August 2013 and redesigned it into 22 market rate apartments, a community room and 26 on-site parking spaces.
Preserving the cathedral’s key architectural features posed the biggest challenges of the project, and 616 worked with the local community to ensure local historical preservation guidelines were followed. Oak buttresses, stained glass and ornate plasterwork have all been left in tact. A few select panes of stained glass were removed to allow residents visibility; these panes remain on site in a custom art installation.
With resident move-in day scheduled for July 1st and a third of the units reserved the first day of preleasing, 616 Lofts on Prospect is on track to stabilize quickly, like its predecessors.