The St. Matthews Anglican Church is slowly but surely completing its transformation from a church to a multi-purpose housing development.
Cathy Campbell, the rector of the parish and the vice-chairperson of the development, known as the WestEnd Commons, said construction is getting close to finishing and it will be ready to open in April of 2014. Campbell said applications are now being accepted for units in the building.
Campbell said there are two reasons for the conversion and renovation.
"The first reason is, housing is a desperate need in our city, and the church wanted to address that," Campbell said. "The second reason is the building that we’re in is a very large facility, and management of the building was too much for the congregation, so we needed a new way of being able to keep the facility and all the services that happens here without the congregation being the manager."
Campbell joined the church in 2003, and noticed the building was not in good physical shape.
"The roof leaked in all four corners of the sanctuary, and you could put your foot through the floor in the basement," Campbell recalled.
Talks about the changes began in 2006. The plan is to convert the sanctuary into housing units, and include a new, but smaller church space and an atrium.
"It really has been 10 years of strenuous change, but I think that we have a really exciting future ahead of us," Campbell said.
The WestEnd Commons will be having an open house on Dec. 23 from 4 to 6 p.m. Campbell said construction will not be finished by then, but it’s a chance for the neighbourhood to see the progress and potential so far.
"It’s never completely finished," Campbell said. "We have some outdoor work that needs to be done on McGee and on the lot north of the church. That will happen in the spring."