We are very excited to announce that we now have a signed Purchase and Sale Agreement between University Reformed Church and MSU with respect to our sale to MSU of the South Hagadorn properties (URC’s current location). We also have a signed Purchase and Sale Agreement between University Reformed Church and the East Lansing Public School Board regarding our purchase of the property located at Timberlane, formerly the site of East Lansing Trinity Church. We will be selling the Hagadorn facilities for $1.3 million and acquiring the Timberlane facility for $2.2 million. Acquiring the new facility will essentially double the auditorium seating and classroom space for URC and triple the available parking. We are very grateful and excited about these impending changes.
As you might imagine, given the current nature of the use of each of these facilities, their intended uses and current legal commitments as between the three involved parties, this will be a complicated process. The exact dates of closing and possession are yet to be determined and there will be a period of transition.
Prior to closing on the Timberlane facility, URC will need to obtain a rezoning of the property and an occupancy permit from the City of East Lansing. The process for satisfying these requirements has been initiated and we are hopeful of the approvals in late summer. Initial City responses have been positive. The closing for each will not happen until after these approvals are in place. Once the approvals are obtained, the Hagadorn closing will occur, thereby generating funds which, along with “Ready for More” funds, will be paid to East Lansing.
A significant portion of the Timberlane facility is subject to a lease by Michigan State University on behalf of its Community Music School. This lease runs through November 30, 2012. MSU is planning to acquire the URC Hagadorn properties for the Community Music School and will need to implement a number of physical changes in order to accommodate its use of the building. It is expected that these changes will take approximately 90 days to implement and MSU does not wish to suspend the operation of its Community Music School while the new facilities are being prepared for its use.
The East Lansing School Board has not yet identified or prepared new facilities for its office use in another location and therefore has retained the right to continue to use parts of the Timberlane facility through July 31, 2013. Part of the parking associated with the Timberlane site is being used for school busses and recycling. Although the East Lansing School Board is in the process of changing over to a privately run bus fleet, it will need the bus parking facilities through the end of the 2012/2013 school year. The recycling center will no longer operate on the Timberlane site on or about the date of closing.
Members of URC’s New Building Team (“NBT”) are meeting with representatives from the East Lansing School Board and MSU to work the complicated details of the transition through which we will be moving over the next 13 months. At this point, subject to all of these various details being worked out, it appears likely that URC will begin to have church services at the Timberlane facility sometime in the fall of 2012, although a date is yet to be determined. Since we may not have access to most of the Timberlane classroom facilities until the beginning of 2013 and construction will simultaneously be going on at our Hagadorn facilities, it is possible that some of the Sunday School programs on Sunday and mid-week activities will be moved to alternative locations and/or be suspended during parts of fall 2012. As the details become clearer, we will, of course, keep you informed.
Once we get past these early phases of transition, the NBT will be developing a plan for reconfiguring some of the Timberlane space to once again orient it for use as a church. It is not likely that much in the way of physical work on the Timberlane facility will be done by URC until the beginning of 2013 or even more likely, after East Lansing totally vacates the remainder of the premises July 31, 2013.
Although the foregoing may be somewhat confusing and the situation is still evolving, one thing is very clear, the Lord is richly blessing us and is addressing our needs for classrooms, auditorium space and parking. Please continue to pray for His blessing.
Richard W. Pennings