Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Search For A Building

We have been active in the process of obtaining a more permanent location for over 2 years. It began when we discovered and made a bid on the Daycare property across the street from Pomerado Elementary. We bid $600,000 with the condition that we would be able to obtain a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). The building sold for $475,000 to a guy who made a cash offer with no conditions. We later discovered in discussions with the Poway planning department that they would not have issued us a CUP on that property. So, we enlisted the help of a broker to locate every available building in poway that would fit the criteria we needed for our church. He came back with a list that showed three things.

  • #1 There was not very much available. He found only 4 for lease. And only a few spots that we could possibly buy. (Here's the difficulty - finding a building big enough that also has the parking necessary to obtain a CUP)

  • #2 All of the available properties were priced in the $2.00 - $3.00 per square foot price range with additional NNN costs of $.25- $.50. And all but one of these buildings were not interested in lowering their rates or interested in allowing a church into their building. Of those for sale, the price was either in the millions or the city informed us they would not allow us to obtain a CUP for various reasons -(slope, set backs, location, etc)

  • #3 There was one building that had been vacant for five years and the owners seemed to be open to making a deal in the $1.50 per square foot total cost range. The deal included the owner putting in a substantial amount to get the building up to a condition that it could be used.

So in January of 2010 we entered into negotiations to lease this building which had been a former restaurant. That deal fell through in June of 2010 when in the owner changed his mind on his original monthly lease rate and raised it from $1.50 to $2.10

That process was a learning time for me personally. Up until that time we had never looked at or considered obtaining our own building. It showed me how much money it was really going to cost to get a facility into a condition that was suitable for church use and to pass the Conditional Use Permit Process.

From the restaurant deal, one of the contractors mentioned our story to one of our Poway City Councilmen. That Councilman invited us to begin the discussion of getting a Conditional Use Permit to lease space in the South Poway Business Park. The Business Park was enticing because the rates up there were in the $.70 - $1.00 total cost per square foot. So in November 2010 Chris Anderson and I met with Councilman Cunningham at the Hamburger Factory. He seemed willing and sympathetic to our cause. Chris also met with and had a discussion with Councilman Mullin. He to was willing and sympathetic to our cause. This direction seemed even more positive when we found a building and an owner that was willing to hold a space and go with us to obtain the necessary CUP.

That process was clearly denied in a meeting with the Poway Mayor and City Manager in March of 2011. They stated clearly that Poway was happy with it's current church strategy. Which is to only allow churches in a very limited amount of zones. And so it was stated by the mayor that we could either raise the needed funds to purchase or lease within those zones or look elsewhere outside the city of Poway. This meant the South Poway Business Park was no longer an option.

Here's the reality to obtain a facility within the City of Poway

To lease...

  • Be willing to pay $12,000 - $20,000 per month in rental cost

  • Plus, be willing to pay $100,000 - $250,000 to get a building up to conditions that a large group could use it. (build out restrooms, install A/C, etc)

  • Be willing to pay rent for 4-8 months while we wait for the city of Poway to consider whether they will issue us a CUP

To Buy...

  • Be willing to pay 3-5 million for the property, permits, plans and building cost

Both of which are bad financial decisions. And so where do we go from here? Before we began this process I had told God I would exhaust every opportunity to stay within the city of Poway. But, if the door was clearly closed I would expand my search to area's outside the city of Poway.

We have arrived at that point!

I'll write more on this process and where we are later. But, Know this church. I am in no way discouraged or beat down by all the seeming road blocks. All things work together for good, the Bible says. I continue to believe God has us in a good place and encourage you to keep on praying and standing on Gods word for his continued blessing upon us.

I would love to hear your comments and or questions.

God bless.

Pastor Robert


  1. It think that this process was important in realizing one crucial point that many churches may ignore....It's God's church. Our job is to be obedient and share the gospel with the entire world, right? The door to Poway is only closed, not nailed shut. FLCF is too incredible to allow this small event to stop us! Let's saddle up and rock this world for Christ! Thank you for being our pastor.

  2. Pastor,

    Thanks for sharing the history of our Church's search for a more permanent meeting place. I am reminded of Jesus' words to his disciples that if they entered a city that would not receive them that they were to shake dust off their feet and head on down the road.

    May God give us clear direction from here!

    Pastor Sam