Buy a house, get a church

Tracy has a church and a parsonage for sale; other cities have vacant churches as well

Photo by Karin Elton This church and house on Hollett Street in Tracy is for sale as a set. They’ve been empty less than a year and are waiting for someone who wants the house and has an idea of how to use the church.

TRACY — Looking for a house and a church to buy? An area real estate firm has the property for you. The former Tracy Alliance Church and parsonage at 284 Hollett St. in Tracy are up for sale.

It’s a “buy one, get one free” thing,” said the real estate agent, Paia Wiese.

You can buy the house for $48,000 and can use the church for extra living space, storage space or even a church.

“It’s a lovely church and a nice house,” said Wiese.

The house was built in the early 1900s, said Wiese, who is a Tracy-Milroy-Balaton High School graduate currently living in the Redwood Falls area.

It’s been updated, although “the windows are original,” she said. On a recent tour of the house while wearing a coat, she said the house was comfortable with the thermostat setting at 60 degrees which tells her it is well-insulated.

The furnace was installed in 2018 and the water heater is fairly new as well.

The three-bedroom house had a new roof installed five years ago and the church had one eight years ago.

“Both basements did get water and they did gut out what was damaged, but the last couple springs they’ve been fine,” she said. “No water has seeped in since then.”

The master bedroom is “huge with a nice, big walk-in closet,” she said.

“The house needs lovin’,” she said, “but it has potential.”

A video tour can be seen by searching Paia Wiese-Minnesota Homes and Real Estate on Facebook.

The Tracy Alliance Church is selling the church and parsonage because it needed more space and a church was purchased in Walnut Grove last year.

Although Tracy Alliance didn’t close because of fewer people in the pews, many other churches aren’t so fortunate as to need larger accommodations.

Many of the United States’ churches can no longer afford to maintain their structures — 6,000 to 10,000 churches die each year in America — and that number will likely grow, according to The Atlantic magazine. “Though more than 70 percent of our citizens still claim to be Christian, congregational participation is less central to many Americans’ faith than it once was. Most denominations are declining as a share of the overall population, and donations to congregations have been falling for decades. Meanwhile, religiously unaffiliated Americans, nicknamed the “nones,” are growing as a share of the U.S. population.

The article goes on to say that converting old churches into residential spaces is becoming more popular. “A large number of abandoned churches have become wineries or breweries or bars. Others have been converted into hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, and Airbnbs. A few have been transformed into entertainment venues, such as an indoor playground for children, a laser-tag arena, or a skate park.”

Southwestern Minnesota is not immune to the growing trend of church closings. Small area towns such as Florence and Taunton have seen their churches close and be demolished.

Lynd United Methodist Church closed its doors decades ago. Gary Snook purchased it and renovated into a house. Lynd United combined with Albright United Methodist Church in Marshall. Albright has since closed and combined with Wesley United Methodist Church. The two churches are now called Cornerstone United Methodist Church, located on the corner of 4th Street and West Lyon Street in Marshall.

In Hendricks, Grace United Methodist Church on the corner of Main and Hobart Street closed its doors last spring.

According to the Ivanhoe Times, Shane and Ashley Citterman of Hendricks renovated the church and turned it into a place for parties and receptions. The couple call it The Gathering Place.

In Balaton, Sara and Todd Davis bought a Presbyterian church in 1999 that closed in 1976. They renovated it into a fitness center that has since closed. The building is currently being used for storage, said Sara Davis.


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