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Prospective Buyer For Grand Rapids Denominational Building Disclosed as Residents Meeting Announced

1700 28th St. in Grand Rapids, Mich., in October 2023
Alissa Vernon

Announcements were shared Monday, April 8, with Christian Reformed Church staff and members of the denomination’s Council of Delegates on the identity of the potential buyer for the denomination’s listed 12-acre property at 1700 28th St. in Grand Rapids, Mich. It’s the grocery chain Meijer.

The corporation presented an option contract for the property Jan. 5, which, while not an offer to purchase, effectively means “that the property is off the market to other buyers, for a time, while the potential buyer does their due diligence,” the email to the Council of Delegates said.

A confidentiality clause in the offer prevented the CRCNA from disclosing the interested party until now, but the next steps of due diligence include Meijer hosting a public meeting “for people in the surrounding neighborhood to be informed of their plan for the property and to ask questions,” the CRC’s communications office said. While it is now sharing who is interested in the property, “it bears repeating that this does not mean the sale is complete,” the announcement said.

Wood TV is reporting that Meijer filed plans with the City of Grand Rapids on April 5 indicating its hoped-for use of the property would be a gas station with 23 parking spaces.

Meijer’s current option contract expires May 4, the announcement from CRC communications said. An extension could be requested for another 90 days before needing to provide a firm decision to the CRCNA on whether or not they want to proceed with the purchase.

The Council of Delegates next meets May 1-3 in Grand Rapids, convening at Cascade Fellowship CRC. At the previous Council meeting in February, the U.S. Ministry Board heard updates on the prospective sale, without the disclosure of the interested party. They also heard that the building futures committee had a potential new location that could fit the criteria for relocating U.S. ministry offices of the Christian Reformed Church. The April 8 announcement had no new details on a new location but said that staff “are proceeding with their due diligence on the (available) property. Details will be shared as soon as it is appropriate to do so.”

The announcement summarized a bit of the history and current reality of the 28th Street location. “The idea of having a denominational building was introduced in 1945 at the annual gathering of church representatives from across the US and Canada (called Synod). A year later, Synod approved the direction, but it took seven years to find a suitable and affordable location; … in 1953, Synod decided to purchase the property at 28th and Kalamazoo at a cost not to exceed $50,000. … In 1956, it could be reported that the denomination building had been completed ‘by the good hand of our God … without any serious mishaps.’ The cost of land and building, furnishings, and new equipment was reported to be approximately $665,500.”

Two major renovations were completed on the building in 1967 and 1987. In 2023 it was decided to put the building up for sale. “The CRCNA’s current need for office space is much less than this building has to offer—about 75% less—due to increased regionalization of ministry staff, as well as World Renew’s move to a new location where their ministry can be housed at one location,” the April 8 announcement said.

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