Convert a church into a house, an Airbnb or even a sports court?
Those are among the ideas that are trickling in for a church with a "For Sale" sign in the city of Pine Island, about 20 minutes north of Rochester.
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Agents Karl Rogers and Jon Ryan said the listing of the Good News Evangelical Free Church, one of the oldest buildings built in the city, has garnered a lot of interest — and ideas.
The property is zoned R2, a classification that includes churches and multi-family units. Some potential buyers have expressed interest in converting the church into a residence, while others have talked about creating a community center or day care. Then there are some who have no intention of buying the church, but want to weigh in just the same.
One local resident suggested it become a destination for America's fastest-growing sport.
"We received one note saying, 'there really is a need for pickleball courts in Pine Island,'" Rogers said.
Whatever its next iteration, Ryan said a new owner will get a slice of history and a great location — near the northern entry point of the Douglas State Trail, which runs between Pine Island and Rochester.
"Pine Island essentially grew around this church and a few buildings around her on Main Street," he said.
The church, located on the edge of downtown, was built in 1874 as Grace Episcopal Church. The current owner, Good News Evangelical Free Church, is in the process of relocating to another space down the street.
The building has been updated with HVAC systems, siding, windows and roofing. However, it still retains much of its original charm.
"You don't really see the original architecture when you're outside because of the newer exterior asphalt shingles and vinyl siding," Ryan said. "The fact that the building's this old and in really great shape is pretty incredible. It's pretty stunning."
At just over 3,000 square feet, the building includes a sanctuary and a bonus room on the main floor as well as a lower-level library, nursery and office.
Since others are sharing their ideas, the listing agents are happy to offer up their own potential uses for the property, as well. For one, a church-turned-Airbnb comes to mind.
"I first saw one when I was on vacation in England and stayed in an Airbnb west of London. It was a church built in the 1600s or 1700s that someone from San Francisco bought and made it really high-tech while maintaining the architecture," Ryan said. "It was just one of the most incredible Airbnbs I've seen creativity-wise."
Some updates — such as adding a tub or shower to the bathroom — would be needed to meet residential codes. But the listing agents suggested that other spaces could benefit from improved design or relocation.
"You may want to move the kitchen to the main floor. The basement is wide open with no real structural walls in the middle, so you could add a few more egress windows and add more rooms," Ryan said.
And in the sanctuary "with a ceiling height being almost 20 feet, you could build a loft with a bedroom. So there's potential to walk away with four bedrooms and a few large living spaces," he added.
For the price tag, the agents say such projects may be worth it.
"It's only $66 a square foot. In new construction, you're paying $220, sometimes $250 a square foot," Ryan said. "That's why we're also marketing it for residential use that could be a unique design. We'll see what happens."
Karl Rogers (firstname.lastname@example.org; 507-884-6678) and Jon Ryan (email@example.com; 507-513-0005) of Dwell Realty Group have the $199,900 listing.