The building at 1150 N. 4th St. was originally constructed as Saint Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, dating back to the end of the 19th century. According to historical maps, the building transitioned to housing a “Singing Society” in the mid-1900s, but more recently it has gone back to being a house of worship, the 2CMC Church. This congregation, which touts itself as the a church of love, anointing, and unity, looks like it will soon be relocating to a new space, as their building has been listed for sale for about a year and a half. The most recent list price was $1.2M, and we can see it’s currently under agreement with a developer.

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View of the building
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View in front
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Back of the building
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A peek inside

We’ve been conditioned to expect that any developer buying a non-historic church would be looking to tear it down, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Instead, they recently presented a plan at NLNA for a day care on the first floor and 14 apartments on the upper floors. We reached out to the neighborhood group and learned that the residential conversion was generally well received, but the day care wasn’t a hit with the community. Probably something to do with the 75 kid capacity and the resulting traffic from dropoff and pickup. Apparently, NLNA and the developer were able to come up with an alternate plan that worked out for everyone, but we don’t know what that will entail at this point.

We’ll be interested to see what eventually happens here, recognizing that it’s fairly likely that any plan will involve reusing the old church. While a developer could certainly tear it down given that it’s not on the local historic register, it probably wouldn’t make much financial sense given that the property is zoned for single-family use. As that would only allow for four homes here by right, we don’t imagine the economics would work better than apartments. Since reusing the existing building would be considered a hardship to potentially result in a variance, demoing the building and starting with dirt would eliminate the hardship and make for much tougher sledding at the ZBA for a multi-family project. So figure on this building sticking around for a long time, likely with apartments inside. Just how many units you should expect is still tbd.