The Washington Post

Organization puts Meadowkirk on the market

Meadowkirk, a 358-acre retreat and conference center near Middleburg, is for sale, after its owner, the National Capital Presbytery, decided that it could no longer afford to keep the property.

The National Capital Presbytery, a regional council of 109 Presbyterian churches, bought the property in 2004 and developed it as a youth camp and center for retreats and conferences. But the economic downturn that began five years ago significantly curtailed corporate retreat and conference business, church officials said.

“We don’t have a business model that will [pay off] the debt that we have incurred, with the collapse of the financial markets in 2008 that affected us acutely,” said Wilson Gunn, a National Capital Presbytery spokesman. “The rise in construction costs that turned around on us midstream bit us, as well.”

The property, formerly known as Delta Farm, is about five miles northeast of Middleburg, and has 2½ miles of frontage on Goose Creek. The farm’s manor house, built in 1905, has been renovated and converted into meeting space and guest rooms. The National Capital Presbytery also renovated and expanded the 18th-century stone barn. It became part of the main conference center, which includes a dining room and commercial kitchen.

The property also has a 20-room inn and three cottages to house youths, plus a swimming pool, an astronomical observatory, high and low ropes courses and a hiking trail.

A year after the organization bought the Delta Farm property for $6.9 million, it sold Camp Glenkirk, its youth camp in Fairfax County, for $18 million. Over the next few years, the organization used proceeds from the sale of Glenkirk to finance an ambitious plan to develop Meadowkirk into a facility that could be used for conferences and retreats, in addition to youth activities.

By June 2011, the organization concluded that the conference business was not bringing in enough money to pay off the debt incurred during the development of the property. Meadowkirk is being offered for $16 million.

“We would be delighted to sell it to somebody who’d like to keep it in a similar kind of use,” Gunn said. “Our loss is their gain. Essentially, we’ve got it for sale for about two-thirds of our costs” of developing the property.

Gunn said that Meadowkirk remains in operation, although there are no plans for the usual summer camp programs for children because of the possible sale of the property.

“We will still continue to lease the property for groups and events,” Gunn said. “It’s available for churches to rent, and we’d welcome all comers to use the facilities that we have.”


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