Local churches for sale

Local churches for sale

It’s not often that local churches are for sale, and it’s even more rare for two to be on the market at the same time. But that’s been the case for nearly two months since Evergreen Baptist Church in Albemarle County went up for sale, joining Downtown’s First Christian Church in the local real estate market.
    But the churches may not change owners with equal ease. As reported in The Daily Progress last week, potential buyers of the First Christian Church, at the corner of First and Market streets, are wary that the city’s regulations governing older structures could limit future uses of the property. The property is currently assessed at $1.6 million.
    “It’s harder to move the property until you have answers to the questions,” says Lane Bonner, a real estate agent involved in the sale of First Christian. He noted that one “serious” buyer gave up on the purchase after he could not get assurances from officials that he could make changes to the property as he wanted.
    Specifically at stake is whether a brick annex that was added last century to the sanctuary could be renovated or demolished by future owners. Such changes would fall under the jurisdiction of Charlottesville’s Board of Architectural Review.
    According to board Chairman Fred Wolf, “Design guidelines, as well as rules for historic monumental structures such as a church, would suggest that any owners be careful about rearranging that site.”
    Potential buyers of the 118-year old Evergreen Baptist Church off Proffit Road in Albemarle, however, have not encountered similar problems (that property is currently assessed at $126,700). “I think the County would be amenable to any use, as long as someone wanted to use it within reason,” said real estate agent Carolyn Betts. The church is not a historic site, according to Betts, though the area where it’s located is.

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