Many churches and church buildings were sold for different reasons, such as the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, high-maintenance churches, and lack of church attendees. Some of those were Belmont-Watertown United Methodist and its church building, which was recently put on sale.
Belmont-Watertown United Methodist's Church Building
Many towns across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are distinguished by their church buildings. However, as churches continue to consolidate and the number of people attending services decreases due to COVID-19, a lack of faith, and new generations who place less importance on religious practices, the cost of maintaining the historic properties can sometimes become unsustainable. Because of this, many congregations are left with no choice but to sell their properties.
The Wicked Local reported that the beige and brick Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church (BWUMC) was constructed in 1921 and is one of the many properties included on the town's list of significant buildings and is currently available for purchase. It is a recognizable landmark in Cushing Square that is well-known for the music played every hour by its exterior speakers.
The listing agent for the Belmont church property is Coldwell Banker Commercial Realty. The property consists of two parcels: the first is the 35,000-square-foot church, and the second is the so-called Imler House next door. The Imler House was constructed in 1964 for the parish priest, the Reverend Joseph Imler. Moreover, the price being asked for is "subject to offer."
Single-family homes, religious institutions, and educational institutions are permitted for the zoned property. An assistant director of community development in Belmont, Ara Yogurtian, stated that if someone wants to transform the space on the inside of the building into something else, they are required to submit a request to the Planning Board for a change in the building's zoning, which will then need to be approved by Town Meeting.
The property at 92 Mount Auburn Street that the BWUMC owns and is located within a historical Watertown district is also being sold. This property is located directly across the street from the church's other building, constructed in 1894 and known as the former St. John's Methodist Episcopal Church. It features a total area of 22,964 square feet and is suitable for residential and community redevelopment. The price reflected in the listing is $2.6 million.
Also Read:Eagle Lake Methodist To Pay $25,000 Cost of Disaffiliation
Effect of Pandemic on Selling Church's Property
As per the AD Advisor, a church may sell its building for several reasons. The church may be growing, closing, or changing ministries. Selling church-owned properties requires unique procedures. It is also examined, evaluated, promoted, and bargained with buyers differently than homes or offices.
According to Congress for the New Urbanism, researchers estimated that 75 to 100 places of worship were closing each week before the pandemic, equating to 3,750 to 7,500 closures annually. In the next few years, the United States may be facing the prospect of the closure of as many as 100,000 places of worship, which is more than a quarter of the total number that is estimated.
Developers can't wait to get their hands on prime real estate in major metropolitan areas with sizzling real estate markets to turn it into high-end condominiums or Class A office space. In the center of the United States, there is no such rush; instead, there is a careful selection of the most promising chances for redevelopment, and the remainder of the land is allowed to lie fallow.
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