Monday, April 2, 2012

Building's shell to be resurrected as church

A Northeast Valley Episcopal church plans to resurrect the shell of an unfinished office building in north Scottsdale and transform it into a house of worship.

If all goes well, the Episcopal Church of the Nativity will hold services by Christmas in its new church at 22405 N. Miller Road, which is southeast of the former Rawhide theme park.

A monument to the recession, the foundation and walls of the 24,500-square-foot two-story building have been an eyesore in the Sonoran Hills neighborhood.

"It will be a wonderful home for the Christmas celebration," the Rev. Susan Snook said. "We're excited about being part of that neighborhood."

The Episcopal Church of the Nativity, like other commercial and residential buyers, has found a silver lining in the real-estate collapse of four years ago with far more affordable prices for property in Scottsdale.

The church paid $700,000 for the unfinished building, Snook said.

A developer started construction on the office building in 2007, but it came to a halt after the foundation and walls were erected, and the property went into foreclosure.

"It was bad timing on their part, but it turned out to be good fortune for us," said George Hartz, a DC Ranch resident who is a church board member.

The 7.6-acre property includes three other office-condo buildings of 8,000 square feet and one of 10,000 square feet, said Jason Hersker, a senior associate with Capital Asset Management, the company marketing the property.

The Sorenson Group family trust acquired the property in 2009 as part of a bundle of properties in a bank foreclosure, he said, adding that proceeds from the church sale are allowing the owner to complete the office condos.

The condos will soon be offered for sale or lease, but pricing has not been set, Hersker said.

The church, with about 350 members, was founded in fall 2006 and first had services at Grayhawk Elementary School. Its five-year lease for 5,000 square feet of space in an office building at 7010 E. Chauncey Lane is expiring at the end of this year.

Snook said the church looked for a suitable permanent location in an existing building or land for a new building, but it never found anything that would work until the building shell turned up.

"As we looked at it, we could see some real possibilities architecturally," she said.

The church had a structural analysis done, and it revealed the building is in good shape, Snook said.

"We can make good use of the walls and foundation that are there already, while redesigning the exterior and interior to look like a church," she added.

Arched windows and doorways and an entry facade will make it look like a modern church rather than a boxy building for medical or professional offices.

The Church of the Nativity's first level will include a two-story sanctuary and other facilities. The remaining space on the second level will be reserved for expansion, Snook said.

The church will also have weekend access to 200 parking spaces adjacent to the office condos.

Hartz said the church's location near the Vi at Silverstone retirement community and other planned apartments and homes at the development that is replacing Rawhide is ideal. The Appaloosa Library, Pinnacle Peak Elementary School and a post office are nearby.

"It's better when you're building a community place of worship for it to be in a community," he said.

by Peter Corbett - Mar. 30, 2012 02:26 PM The Republic |

Building's shell to be resurrected as church

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