Estero’s Church Changes Course to Face Real Estate Challenges

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If you think it is difficult to find a single family home in Southwest Florida, try buying a church. This is an even more difficult task. The Estero Community Church spent four years searching for the ideal property.

“It was very difficult,” said Pastor Kevin Morris. “We thought we would have to build. There are not many churches in Estero, and the property values ​​in Estero are outrageous. We originally looked east of 75, but we were unable to find any reasonable property, and the ones we found, it would cost a fortune to build infrastructure. ”

By the way: Lee’s Property Values ​​Set New Record In 2020, County Tax Cuts Expected

They eventually found land near Corcscrew Road and began making plans to buy real estate and build a church. Morris visited the Church of the Heritage at Estero to get some ideas on architecture and building plans.

“We came here to borrow their plans and some ideas, and the pastor here said, ‘Could you buy a church? Morris described. “God is amazing because we didn’t come here to buy this building.”

Morris soon struck a deal to buy Legacy Church. This deal saved them a lot of money and a huge amount of time. Morris said the site they were looking at cost about $ 600,000 and could cost over $ 2 million to build. They acquired the existing church for $ 1.78 million as part of a deal that includes allowing Heritage to hold Sunday night services there for one year.

“We had money from the sale of another church, so we could buy it directly, without a mortgage,” Morris said proudly.

The Community Church of Estero previously had two buildings in San Carlos Park. Morris said they didn’t need all the additional property they had and 75 percent of their parishioners live in Estero, so they wanted to sell the San Carlos property. Morris said the new building is almost perfect for the church and its 80 members.

“This is a new building,” he said. “It was built five years ago, so we don’t have to go in here and worry about air conditioning or running water. It all depends on the code. It’s bigger, better and much newer. “

The new building also means lower insurance costs. The church also does not need to maintain much land.

“This is so close to what we need,” he said. “Of course, if you build, you get exactly what you want, but we’ll pay a million dollars more.”

Instead, church officials use these savings to make the desired changes. The tiny kitchen will be expanded with an oven and industrial refrigerator. Bathrooms will be renovated and improved. They plan to add flavor and pacification to the sanctuary with the help of banners and other decor.

“We were planning for construction, so we had a work schedule, so when this church became available, our timeline was pushed back,” Morris said. “Heritage built the church. This is our home now, but we must make it our home. We are very lucky to receive this building, and we have room to grow. “

Chloe Maros, Real Estate Consultant at Select Real Estate, assisted a buyer with the acquisition of a 9,238 square foot church.

“This deal was about finding a suitable site for the Estero Community Church,” Maros said. “This new location will allow the church to expand its ministry, add new programs and activities, and serve not only the Estero community, but throughout Southwest Florida.”

This is not the first time Maros has helped with a church property deal. In March, she sold the property of the Estero Community Church (formerly Hope Presbyterian Church) on Hickory Drive in San Carlos Park to St. Peter’s Greek Orthodox Church.

“Churches have become my specialty,” said Maros.

Maros acknowledges that helping churches find a new home is not an easy task.

“What we find with a place of worship that requires zoning is a little difficult to find,” she began. “In most cases, these religious organizations cannot buy land just because of the zoning. My challenge is to find something that exists or something that we can repurpose that fits the space, needs and location. It meets a variety of needs. “

Maros said she is engaged in commercial and investment real estate and from time to time sells residential real estate.

“I just have a heart for churches,” she said. “I’m a Christian. There are nuances when buying churches and religious organizations. There are many different trustees. There are many bureaucratic delays to go through. Decisions are not made by one or two people. So you need to be patient, but it’s very rewarding. It’s nice to see how the community comes together for such things. “

Finding a place for a church can be so difficult that churches are also looking for creative ways to find a home. In September 2014, Living Waters, now Ocean Church, acquired the old Albertsons supermarket in Estero and turned it into a place of worship. The 67,000-square-foot industrial space gave the church the extra space it needed for worship, children’s and youth programs, and parking. Living Waters spent $ 4.4 million on construction and about $ 1.7 million on construction and furnishings to create a main worship auditorium that can accommodate 800 people, a children’s auditorium for 150 children, computer kiosks, secure entry points to children’s areas. rooms for small groups, etc. offices and a recreation room for volunteers.

* note: the new name for Estero Community Church has not been officially sanctioned by church officials. The church was formerly Hope United Presbyterian Church, but changes its name with the move to Estero.

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