Churches Redeveloping Properties to Give Them New Life
September 29, 2015

Enter the word “church” in the keyword search box on commercial real estate listing site LoopNet and hundreds of properties will pop up for sale, from historic churches in rural areas to mega-churches in urban ones.

Many churches have little choice but to sell because they’re in or near foreclosure, often because they’re struggling with declining membership and high maintenance costs. Other churches, however, are flourishing and selling their current facilities to move to larger ones elsewhere.

Increasingly, as church leaders become more sophisticated, a third path has arisen: Teaming up with real-estate companies to redevelop their property to include mixed uses on the land. That strategy can increase revenue for the congregation while preserving the church facility...

Metropolitan New York Synod-Evangelical Lutheran Church in America sold the church because it needed about $10 million in repairs, according to Rev. Marc Herbst, the church’s chief of staff, who added that the congregation had dwindled to about a dozen people. “Any reasonable person would certainly recognize an investment for that community just wouldn’t be very feasible,” he said. Mr. Herbst said that the proceeds from the sale would be reinvested in other existing ministries.

Richard Eaddy, a senior managing director at Savills Studley in New York, who brokered the deal, said the seller received 10 bids, from other churches as well as developers, but that Brookland Capital’s was the highest...

Churches Redeveloping Properties to Give Them New Life

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