If your church facilities are anything like those of many of our clients you could be facing a range of issues including:
- A dated church building unsuited to modern ministry.
- A heritage listed building.
- External presentation that isn’t inviting to the local community.
- A building that is expensive to maintain.
- Limited or insufficient funding.
- A policy of not selling property.
The good news is that there are solutions to all of these issues including options to create new church spaces that can house a modern and vital ministry.
The solutions often relate to the value of the property, which means that the first questions to consider are what would a commercial assessment tell you about your church property and does the property have the potential to provide sufficient funds to achieve the congregation’s goals?
Many people see a heritage listing as desirable to protect a significant building but they also see it as limiting when it comes to the options for creating modern ministry spaces. However, in our experience, there are frequently opportunities for revitalising or creating new church premises from heritage buildings. For example, many councils have a heritage conservation incentive that provides considerable flexibility in what can be approved to be built on a heritage property.
Combining good commercial thinking with expert design can produce excellent results for heritage properties, creating great ministry spaces that are also seen as a good outcome by the council.
When a sale is not an option
Some churches have a policy of not selling land and, with limited funds at their disposal, they feel that building regeneration is simply not viable. However, this is not necessarily the case and there are often attractive leasehold solutions that can be put in place to fund the required renovation or rebuild.
The sale or leasing of surplus property is another avenue to explore. Defining surplus land and its commercial potential is a step towards releasing a lump sum or a rental stream to fund a church project.
Clever design can contribute to a viable solution. However, prior understanding of the property’s commercial potential and the proposed project’s viability are absolutely essential before going down this path.
Almost every time we see a church that has undertaken building design before considering the viability of the project the subsequent financial analysis shows either that the project design can’t be funded or that major design changes are required to make the project viable. It’s always best to deal with the commercial analysis first.
Working on a design in the early days of the project can be fun but it’s much more exciting when you know the project concept is financially sound and that the design you’re working on can actually be built.
Compatibility of uses
Funding a church project often requires other activities to be introduced to the property to generate additional revenue and this, of course, raises the issue of the compatibility of those uses with the church.
We have made an extensive study of the variety of property uses that are potentially compatible with churches and it’s fair to say that there are more potential options for co-locating with churches than ever before.
A church’s property often represents a great opportunity for revitalisation and expansion of its ministry. There is a range of issues that will need to be managed along the way to successfully creating a reinvigorated church but fortunately, this is now a well-worn path and the lessons learned from successful projects elsewhere can be applied to successfully complete your project.
Contact Augusta Advisors on 02 9966 8898 for a confidential discussion about your Church property goals.