“It is better to retrofit an existing vacant structure and parking field rather than go through the throes of acquiring land, entitling the land for construction, going through architectural and engineering expense, and then the very high cost of vertical construction.
“Additionally, the user can be in place much faster than ground-up construction,” Collins said.
Collins said another benefit from the four churches locating in non-traditional church settings is that “the larger non-denominational, often semi-evangelical, high-growth churches, such as Elevation and perhaps Awake, often seek out and cater to the unchurched,” Collins said.
“First-time church attendees or long term non-attendees are more likely to attend a non-traditional church facility, often offering a more modern and non-traditional church service, such as casual dress, casual seating, and with more popular-based music with guitars, basses and drums, rather than traditional organ or piano music,” Collins said.
Collins said the churches’ infrastructure decision is a promising trend for absorbing existing space at a time when some retail venues are losing tenants to either closings or downsizing.
“It does speak to the fact that property owners are looking to non-retail buyers or tenants to stabilize their assets, or to sell to, when the likelihood of re-tenanting with traditional retail may be a long shot,” Collins said.