This was one of my favorite stories and it has a happy ending now.
Way back in February 2007, we published this story about one of real estate's biggest challenges: selling churches.
Researching that story, I learned about challenges all over the U.S. and Europe in marketing older churches to new congregations or converting them to new uses such as bars and restaurants. It's the kind of thing you never think about: finding a new use for a place that is largely one big assembly room and a lot of classrooms.
This one on Freeport Boulevard in Land Park started at $1.4 million and after 15 months on the market finally sold for $862,000, according to listing broker Leigh Nurre of TRI Commercial Real Estate Services. Nurre said she closed the deal on April 28 with agent Claudia Norton-Tolbert of Prudential California Realty, who represented the buyer: "The Door" Christian Fellowship of Natomas.
This morning I talked with a happy pastor, Herbert Rubi, who held his first Sunday services for 150 people yesterday at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
His church has been meeting for about a dozen years in a building on Northgate Boulevard. Lately, a church member offered a $250,000 endowment, which made possible a nice down payment. The pastor said American River Bank did the loan - indeed, it was handled by the very same Mary Ann Kalbach mentioned in the original article.
Look for a more extended version of the story in Friday's Home Front and a photo of the church's buyers. Needless to say it turned out like Nurre said in the original story: most churches are still being bought by other churches.