For more than 16 years, Calvary Fellowship has been a focal point of civic debate in Mountlake Terrace, not necessarily because of who they are or what they do; the discussions have been about where they are located.
The non-denominational church has called a former grocery store building in the downtown core of Mountlake Terrace home since 1997. Its central location in the Town Center District at 23302-56th Ave. W. has been targeted by city leaders for potential seven-story mixed use development and the tax receipts that would come with private, non-religious ownership of the land.
Now the Calvary Fellowship leadership is setting into motion plans that may give Mountlake Terrace civic leaders their wish.
The church has put its 4.19-acre property in the 23200-23300 block of 56th and 58th Avenues West up for sale and is looking for a new home in the South Snohomish County/North King County area. The move is, in part, due to consistent urging from Mountlake Terrace City Hall that development is coming to the town center core, and the church property could be a key part of that if the church would step aside.
“The City Council wants development in the area and we don’t want to get in the way,” said Jordan Taylor, Teaching Pastor at the Wallingford Calvary Fellowship and son of the Mountlake Terrace church pastor Wayne Taylor. “We are in the superblock, and we just want to be super-supportive.”
The church has been discussing selling the property and looking at potential new homes for the past five years, Taylor explained. Late this year the church listed the property with Colliers International, which has begun marketing the site at a price of $9,950,000.
The leadership of Calvary Fellowship still loves Mountlake Terrace and can envision the church staying in its present location if the property doesn’t sell, Taylor said, but the church is also prepared to move if a sale happens. “We’re ready,” Taylor added. “It’s just wait-and-see at this point. It just comes down to if someone makes a good offer.”
“We’re very early in the stages of marketing the property,” said Sam Ziemba, vice president at Colliers International, adding that there have already been some preliminary inquiries into the site.
Colliers and another real estate firm showing interest in marketing the property have talked to a couple owners of adjacent land parcels to see if they want to be included in a package sale to a potential developer. There have been no takers, as the owners of Espresso Break and Cousins Hair Design both said they want to stay where they are.
Calvary Fellowship leadership defended their decision to purchase the property 16 years ago and call Mountlake Terrace home all these years. The building had been a struggling antique mall when the church bought it; before that the structure had been a grocery store with an adjacent liquor store, both of which had gone out of business.
“When we moved here, this area wasn’t a downtown core,” Taylor said. “In a way we feel that we brought a life to the city being here.”
The church has no timeline as to when they may potentially move, and would do so only after their current home is sold, Taylor stated. Calvary Fellowship Mountlake Terrace currently draws approximately 1,000 attendees on Sunday mornings, and offers numerous programs for adults, youth, and children throughout the week.
— By Doug Petrowski