The Future of the Damascus Campus

What is The Nehemiah Studio?

The Nehemiah Studio is part of a larger project called the Nehemiah Initiative which is a collaborative effort between multiple departments at Seattle University and trailblazers within the field of architecture who have a passion to see local African American churches in the Central District and Columbia City leverage their land & campus rather than selling for the sake of developing a facility that better caters to the needs of the modern church.

Overview of the Nehemiah Studio

The ill effects of rapid socioeconomic change have perhaps impacted the Central District (CD) more so than any other
area in Seattle. Gentrification and displacement of the Black population has reached crisis levels as the percentage of
African Americans living in the CD has declined from 73% in 1970 to less than 14% today. Seattle is losing the largest
contiguous Black neighborhood north of California and, now, some of the most enduring institutions in the CD—the
historically Black churches—face difficult decisions about whether to stay or to go.

Collectively, the churches own land throughout the CD. And, as a network, they could support each other in making
more deliberate and strategic real-estate decisions. This vision is moving forward as the Nehemiah Initiative, led by
the Goodwill Missionary Baptist Church and other members of the initiative work group. The Nehemiah Initiative is a
multi-pronged anti-displacement initiative to explore means and methods to mitigate gentrification and displacement
through the development of the significant real estate assets of historically Black churches. The initiative seeks to
develop affordable mixed-use projects according to community needs and desires with the goal to retain, bring back,
and attract new residents and tenants.

The Proposal for the Damascus Campus

The following video shows slides presenting the proposed plan for the redevelopment of the Damascus Campus.
The proposal includes a new Sanctuary, as well as two apartment complexes, a Montessori School, single family townhouses., and underground parking. 

Join us on Saturday, February 6, 2021 at 10:00am for a follow-up meeting with Pastor Broughton.
Check your email for the Zoom link!

Join the Discussion.

If you have questions about the proposal, please contact us! We would love to address them.