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This article was published 16/7/2019 (1083 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A community church in Fairfield Park is getting in on the development action occurring in southwest Winnipeg.
Grace Christian Church is embarking on a new 52-unit, four-storey condominium project called The Fairfield for its property at 50 Barnes St.
"When we first moved into that area in 1996, we bought the church building from a previous church that had been there, and all four sides were empty agricultural fields," said pastor Alan Redmond. "We were out there on the very edge of Winnipeg, there was no Superstore, no condominiums, no row houses, nothing."
Redmond, who has served as the church’s pastor since 1995, said the Grace Christian has created a new numbered company to serve as the developer of the project which, in the long run, will provide a cash injection for the congregation as it looks to expand its charitable community work.
"We thought that if we could retire some of our debt and maybe utilize the asset that we have — the building and land — a little differently, it would give us some funds to further move along in the direction we want to move," Redmond said.
Members of Grace Christian Church created the non-profit Hands of Hope community program in 2002 which has provided home furnishings to over 50,000 families in Winnipeg, for free, since its inception. The church also serves as an outlet for Winnipeg Harvest in the south end and connects with 90 families on a weekly basis. The church also does mission work overseas.
"We in our planning wanted to do something that would have an impact in the community," Redmond said. "Our overall goal is how can we be a servant to the community that we’re a part of. Obviously we’re a church and we’re sharing the good news of God’s love with people, but we want to put a practical expression of that, but it takes money."
The two-acre plot of land was recently approved for subdivision at Assiniboia community committee to allow for the residential complex development, which will be built on the south side of the existing parking lot. According to documents submitted to the City of Winnipeg, the condominium project will include a mix of one- and two-bedroom units and 63 parking spaces, 44 of which will be below ground.
Redmond said the church opted for condominiums, as opposed to rental or low income and senior housing, as the highest use of the land. Once built and units sold, the church will have no association with the condominium as it will be independently operated by the condominium corporation, Redmond said.
"We’ve been told by other developers… we’ve got the best location in the city of Winnipeg for a condo," Remond said. "Here you’re sitting on the doorstep of the University of Manitoba, you’ve got a Superstore across the road… you’re so handy to Waverley West."
Rick Hofer, a member of the church council and general contractor for the condominium project, estimates construction could begin as early as spring 2020.
"We won’t start until we get the presales done, but we hope to get in the ground by May or June of next year," Hofer said.
Hofer said after expenses, the church hopes to earn about $2-million on the project which will cover the mortgage on the existing church building and support its mission work into the future. Hofer said the church has a $700,000 mortgage on the building and for some time has struggled to get into the black.
"Every year we seem to fall behind," Hofer said. "We’re tired of just existing.
"We’ve got to try it."
Ahead of construction, Hofer said the church will relocate its parking to wrap around the building. A total of 77 spaces are planned for church use. Between 110 and 130 people attend Grace Christian Church weekly, Hofer said.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.