28 December 2022 |
After sharing a former Sam’s Club property with Venue Church on weekends, Crosswalk Chattanooga now has the opportunity to purchase the full property after Venue Church filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. Venue – a megachurch that held services on Sundays – brought in 800–1,500 people before a number of changes at the church created a culture of dissatisfied staff who quit, en masse.
According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press:
Another church made an offer on the property, but Crosswalk exercised a clause in its lease agreement allowing it to purchase the property for itself on the terms the other potential buyer had offered.
The deal is not set to close until February, but a court earlier this month approved the purchase agreement for $3.6 million.
The 46,800-square-foot property’s assessed value is $4.9 million, according to public records. The difference between that valuation and the sale price in part reflected the fact of Crosswalk Chattanooga’s active lease, which limited what potential buyers could do with the space — and thus the pool of interested parties.
Crosswalk Chattanooga’s congregation attracts around 600 people some Saturdays and is among the biggest satellites of the California-based Crosswalk church, according to Justin Wampler, a church administrator working there. The direct purchaser of the property would be the Georgia-Cumberland Conference.
Meanwhile, Venue Church plans to pay off its debts from the sale and continue the church in a different location. For now, “the church will continue to meet in the Lee Highway space until the deal closes — and potentially for a period after as it seeks a new location — if it needs to work out a temporary arrangement with Crosswalk Church,” according to the Chattanooga Times.
Fortunately, Pastor Tavner Smith from Venue and Justin Wampler from Crosswalk have a good working relationship. “Venue has been a blessing to Crosswalk,” Wampler said by phone. “Tavner and his team have been super easy to work with.”