Peoria church signs long-term lease

Calvary Chapel Arrowhead is seeing new congregants and made improvements to the existing facilities. (NAI/Submitted)

NAI Horizon’s Church Realty Solutions practice, led by Thomas Smith, represented the seller, the buyer and a new landlord in the $1.425 million investment sale and long-term lease of Celebration Lutheran Church in Peoria.

Smith, a senior vice president with NAI Horizon, represented the seller, Celebration Lutheran Church of Peoria, and the buyer, a private investment partnership from Phoenix.

The property is located at 8726 W. Olive Avenue, Peoria.

In a separate transaction, Smith represented the new owner in a long-term lease totaling more than $500,000. Calvary Chapel Arrowhead was looking to move its church to a more dynamic and capable set of facilities while remaining in Peoria.

Smith assists and serves churches in acquiring new buildings and in leasing part or all of their existing facilities, supports owner churches in creating new revenue sources from partial and/or part-time leasing of their facilities, creates strategies to repurpose buildings to accommodate places of worship, consolidates, and assists with the sale and disposition of properties and facilities for churches of all sizes and styles. Smith also brings in smaller churches to sometimes share space on off-Sabbath days at market rental rates.

“Another option for a struggling church that is facing diminishing congregational growth is a sale leaseback in which a church sells its property, banks its equity or uses it to rebuild ministries, and then leases the property back from the new owner/landlord,” Smith said.

“This is a message that is being heard in church real estate but not acted on often enough to date.

“The strategy is to bring in another church entity as buyer or a specific investor profile that will encourage a challenged church to look to achieve a strategic transaction known as a sale leaseback. The more traditional approach to capturing inflated equity in a church facility is to sell and seek to either lease or buy a smaller facility, thus lowering expenses while recapitalizing a church’s financial position.”

Built in the 1994, the 6,670-square-foot property features traditional church architecture — a sanctuary, kitchen, offices, a conference room, restrooms, storage room and classrooms. There are also peaceful fellowship areas outside and inside the main building. Additionally, a vacant piece of land totaling more than 2 acres was included in the sale transaction.

“For me, the Church Realty Solutions practice is part business and part ministry and serves as my driving purpose to create and deliver world-class professional real estate services to communities of faith,” Smith said.

Janel Wangsness with Keyser represented the Calvary Chapel Arrowhead tenant who already has seen new congregants and made improvements to the existing facilities.