First Congregational finds new downtown digs

The Bellevue First Congregational Church has purchased a new downtown site following sale of its prime location on 108th Avenue Northeast, but there's more work to be done before a moving date is set.

The church closed on its purchase of the Atrium Building at 111061 N.E. Second St., Wednesday, Feb. 12, after a two-year search process, said Pastor Kevin Brown.

He said a Shaping Our Future team of church members assisted in the search, providing options to the congregation for sites that supported criteria set for a new location. That included staying downtown, being affordable and saving enough money for redevelopment.

"We really wanted to lift up our message of tolerance and acceptance," said Brown. "You don't always see that in traditional American churches."

The Atrium Building sold for $15 million, which is half what Chinese investment firm Plus Investment USA paid for the church's current site at 752 108th Ave. N.E.

"We are guaranteed here for at least a year," said Brown of the church's current location. "That was part of our agreement."

The church has hired an architect to help it realize the new site's potential, and is also reviewing existing tenant leases in the Atrium Building.

"We actually have formed a whole bunch more teams," Brown said. "This is actually what we call Shaping Our Future 3."

While the 25,250-square-foot site is smaller than church's current home, Brown said Bellevue First Congregational is committed to continuing its seven core ministries.

"We'll expand our services in a number of ways, but not necessarily through square footage," he said.


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