An Important Update
The Leadership Team would like to share some very recent developments that provide a unique opportunity for Calvary.
A Quick Synopsis
A local ministry has expressed interest in purchasing our MidTown building to use as their administrative and resource center. Due to their interest and the possibility of using the proceeds to further our building expansion plans, we have tentatively reached an agreement that is pending church approval and the City's approval of their projected use. Below you'll find a more detailed narrative of how this developed and the potential benefit to Calvary. Please note there will be informational meetings on April 3rd, and 6th, followed by a business meeting on April 10th after the morning worship service.
In January of this year, a local ministry group named Stepping Stones inquired about using our MidTown building for working with homeless women and children. Over the years that we have owned the facility, we have allowed a number of different ministries to have access to it, so this wasn't an unusual request for our consideration.
However, with the closing of Franklin Heights we had been unsure of whether our ministry would continue, and in fact it has - but more on that later. Interestingly, several weeks ago a conversation began with some of our current members who were a part of Westgate Baptist Church who graciously gave the Midtown facility to Calvary in March of 2011. In the discussion, they expressed an appreciation of our MidTown ministry and yet also wondered about the possibility of their former church building being used to benefit Calvary's need for expansion here on DeJarnette Lane. They affirmed their desire and excitement about this possibility. So, in the process of thinking about the building utilization, a conversation began concerning the possibility of selling the property and using the proceeds to work toward the construction of the Children's Promise expansion.
With this thought in mind, we tentatively shared with Stepping Stones that the building might be available for sale. Stepping Stones visited the building and immediately expressed an interest in purchasing it. After an initial evaluation by two realtors in our church, we were able to suggest a potential sales price of $250,000. We indicated that for Calvary there would be procedural steps which included the Leadership Team's processing this with the church for approval. From their perspective there would also need to be a discussion with the City concerning rezoning or permission to use the building for their purposes.
After a joint meeting with the City Planning office, it appears that there is a possibility through the Board of Zoning Appeals for Stepping Stones to use the building once they have brought the building up to code. They affirmed their desire to purchase the building at the price mentioned above, which has set into motion the presentation of this letter and subsequent material.
Thus, the Leadership Team now felt it important and appropriate to inform the church and to provide a process of approval that would accommodate the potential sale of the property.
On Sunday April 3rd, at 5 pm in the youth room, the Leadership Team will conduct a presentation of the process and any other current information regarding the sale and subsequent building expansion. This time will also include a question and answer portion.
On Wednesday April 6th, the Leadership Team will be available from 6:00 pm to 7:45 pm in the conference room for members to drop by and ask questions. We will continue to update materials as the process develops.
On Sunday April 10th, immediately following the morning worship service, we will hold a business meeting for the purpose of considering the approval of the sale and the future expansion of Calvary's facility. The proposal for approval will include authorization for the Leadership Team to execute documents for the sale of the building and will also authorize the Leadership Team to initiate and complete a construction process for building expansion. It is expected that the potential completion of any expansion would be into the 2017 calendar year. Please see the attached sample diagrams of the projected construction project.
If the sale of the building is approved, the process will continue with Calvary and Stepping Stones submitting a proposal to the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) by April 11th.
On April 27th, the BZA would consider and hopefully approve the special use permit for Stepping Stones. In the event that the BZA does not approve the building for Stepping Stones, then they would no longer be a viable purchaser and the sale will not be completed. However, the Leadership Team believes that there is still benefit in moving forward with the sale of the building as commercial property for the purpose of using the funds for our building expansion. We would list the building for sale through a commercial agent.
Pending approvals as mentioned above, sometime in mid-May the sale of the building will be completed. The Leadership Team will then begin coordinating and planning for eventual construction.
What will happen to the current MidTown Ministry? As we reported to you at our annual business meeting, the MidTown ministry is still going strong, but in a different way since Franklin Heights has closed. We are now running the vans and the bus to pick up children "on the way." Last Tuesday we had 39 kids in attendance, so obviously the Lord is not done with us there yet. Our thoughts are to continue through May as normal at the downtown building. Then with the start up of next year in August, we will pick up the children and return to Calvary and use classroom space here. We believe this is a viable plan and allows us to continue working with the families and children. The ministry is concluding its fifth year and the number of Calvary volunteers has remained strong. As long as the Lord leads us, we will maintain this work.
Will the money be enough to complete the expansion project? The estimates we secured when we began the Children's Promise campaign in 2010 put the project in the $350,000 - $400,000 range. With about $155,000 currently in the Children's Promise fund and adding to the $250,000 from the proceeds of the sale, we are in the "ballpark" of projected building costs. As the plans are developed, the projected cost will be re-estimated and, if feasible, consideration will be given to the secondary project which could include conversion of the youth area into adult education space and the construction of a youth addition. These were parts of a secondary phases of the initial campaign.
When would construction begin on the children's wing, and other potential additions? There are several factors, one of which is the estimated costs of construction now as compared to several years ago. One scenario would put the planning and development phase ending sometime by the end of the year and construction beginning after the first of the year, possibly by the end of the first quarter. The timeline could move quicker if all the resources are in place to accomplish the project. At this time we cannot provide an estimate of "how long" the construction will take, but our hopes would be to have the work completed by the start up of the fall 2017.
What will expansion look like? The initial floor plan design provided for additional classrooms, a large assembly area for Salvation Station (and other children's gatherings), an additional office and storage area, and also a projected footprint for the second phase of the youth room conversion and expansion. These drawings are included below for your viewing. These designs are not final and we expect there to be considerable thought and planning going into the layout and look of the project. So, the following pictures are conceptual examples.
|Conceptual Floor Plan|
What is our current debt (mortgage) situation? We have been consistently paying down the mortgage with current monthly payments of $18,164, which has allowed us to reduce the overall debt from 3.5 million to our current level of $2,571,688. We refinance the loan approximately every five years which the banks require as a part of the commercial lending process, and the next time to refinance will be in June of 2017. The building expansion that is projected does not add to our current debt since it is anticipated that we will be paying for the construction with cash on hand.
While the information above is very detailed, we felt it was important to provide as much written material as possible. Yet we know that we have not covered every angle and you may have questions that we have not considered. Thus we ask our church members to do a few things:
First, review the material carefully.
Second, please plan to attend the informational meetings as described above.
Third, prayerfully consider what the Lord may be doing in providing this direction for us.
Last, come prepared on April 10th to vote as the Lord leads you.
The Leadership Team will do its best to answer every question. Do not hesitate to contact us and pray also for us as we walk through this opportunity.
The Leadership Team of Calvary Baptist Church
Mark W. Gregory