Durango Christian Church on East Third Avenue may be restored and converted into five condominiums.
The congregation decided to put the church on the market about three and half years ago because the costs of utilities, maintenance and needed renovations are too high, Pastor Jon Alsdorf said.
“We find it not just very difficult, but impossible to keep up with,” he said at a meeting about redevelopment Wednesday.
The meeting was held for neighbors to hear about the redevelopment plan for the property before it is reviewed by the Durango Planning Commission and Durango City Council.
Selling the building was an emotional decision because the church has operated in the building on the corner of East Third Avenue and 11th Street since the 1970s. Before that, it housed the Methodist Episcopal Church.
The building is one of Durango’s early churches, and the plan for redevelopment will retain and improve the building’s facade, Alsdorf said.
“It will have a testimony that it served this community for 130 years, which is meaningful to us,” he said.
Once the building sells, the congregation of about 50 people plans buy land and build a new structure that would allow the church to grow and better serve the community, Alsdorf said.
Other churches were not interested in the property. Congregations that could afford it, can’t fit into it, and congregations that can fit into it, couldn’t afford it, he said.
Developer Tracy Reynolds said he planned to restore the exterior of the church by stripping away the stucco to reveal the original brick structure. He also plans to restore the bell tower to look more like it did originally, he said.
The 10,000-square-foot building could be split into five units between 1,300 and 2,000 square feet, he said. Parking would be provided on the west side of the building off the alley. Each unit would have two parking spaces, one in a garage stall and one in a driveway, he said.
None of the homes will be allowed to become vacation rentals, he said.
Reynolds is also planning on purchasing the parsonage next door and renovating it for his personal home, he said.
Reynolds said he will ask the city to rezone the property to a planned development, which works well for unique projects.
As a planned development, the proposal would have to be reviewed seven times in public by city boards, including the Historic Preservation Board, planner Vicki Vandegrift said.
“It allows for a lot of public scrutiny,” Reynolds said.
The Planning Commission will review the project for the first time Sept. 24. The board will consider the rezoning of the property, the maximum number of units allowed on the property and conceptual plans for construction.