Church buildings, while exempt from property tax, are still incredibly expensive to maintain. As congregations die off (sorry, not trying to be morbid. But most church goers are older, and old people kind of have a reputation for dying), it becomes harder and harder for them to fund the costs of their building, particularly if it is old and needs significant structural work. Which is why you can find more than a few former church churches in San Francisco that are now serving other purposes, many as single-family homes.
37.761826,-122.447814&spn=0.001821,0.002621&z=19&layer=c&cbll=37.761643,-122.447779&panoid=dlko94txYE61rWX58Il62g&cbp=12,252.85,,0,0">601 Belvedere in Cole Valley was formerly St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, which moved to a building in Diamond Heights. The building that was formerly their church became a single family three bedroom, two bathroom home with a legal one bedroom apartment. It last sold in 2003 for $1,335,000. As you might expect for a former church, the main living space – what was once the main sanctuary – is rather dramatic.
37.759825,-122.43928&sspn=0.007252,0.010482&gl=us&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Caselli+Ave+%26+Danvers+St,+San+Francisco,+California+94114&ll=37.759417,-122.44304&spn=0.001822,0.002621&z=19&layer=c&cbll=37.759522,-122.443036&panoid=GI22kPi1hc3MnUKiVxj74w&cbp=12,209.64,,0,-7.27"> 220 Danvers in the Castro (or Eureka Valley, depending on your preference), is known as the Caselli Street Church – a former Mormon church, believe it or not. The conversion of this church into a home was documented on the PBS series “This Old Home” – spanning six episodes that originally aired in 1998. The owners that converted the property sold it in 2002, and it changed hands again in 2003 and 2007. County tax records list it as a 2/2 with approximately 3,300 square feet of living space. And yes, it’s fabulous.
601 Dolores, by Anomalous_A via Flickr
601 Dolores was formerly the Golden Gate Lutheran Church, and went on the market way back in 2009 for a listing price of $9,950,000. It didn’t sell at that price, and according to the blogosphere the property is
in contract for $6,600,000 with the Children’s Day School being the purchaser [update: Property closed for 6.6 million dollars, Children’s Day was the purchaser], with plans to turn it into their middle school campus. Obviously, a little remodeling will be happening before the school moves in to the property.
Second Church of Christ, Scientist by Anomalous_A via Flickr
And finally, if all of this talk of houses of God and single family houses have you ready to make your own Single Family House of God, then just up the street from 601 Dolores at 651 Dolores is the Second Church of Christ, Scientist which was for sale with Michael Ackerman and Oliver Burgleman of Zephyr Real Estate [status update: sold to Lighthouse Dev LLC for $2,300,000 in October of 2011 per public tax records]. The building requires significant work and isn’t a project for the weekend hobbyist. It is an incredible amount of space, but the listing price of $2,500,000 reflects it also needs an incredible amount of work. I actually have a good friend who used to attend church at this building, although I never attended services with him. Below are some additional photos of the building that I took recently.
(click on any thumbnail for a larger image with a slideshow option)
This being San Francisco, I’m sure there are others that I’m not aware of. Know of a Single Family House of God? Leave a tip in the comments!