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Church extension: Cornerstone finalizes deal

Renovations to follow $1.5M purchase of downtown building

  • Bishop-Michael-Pitts-9-24

    Bishop Michael Pitts outside of the Event Center on Summit Street. Pitts and his wife, Kathi, co-founded Cornerstone Church and have purchased the property to establish a downtown Toledo location.

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  • Michael-Pitts-9-24

    Bishop Michael Pitts outside of the Event Center on Summit Street. Pitts and his wife, Kathi, co-founded Cornerstone Church and have purchased the property to establish a downtown Toledo location.

    THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER
    Buy This Image

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Here is the church. Here is the steeple. Scratch that ...

The future home of the Cornerstone Church’s downtown campus will be in a four-story building at 23 N. Summit St.

Bishop Michael Pitts, Cornerstone’s founder and religious leader, said the church plans to renovate the building in time for Easter 2017 Sunday services. The building purchase for approximately $1.5 million was finalized on Sept. 12.

Bishop Pitts estimates Cornerstone will spend about $2 million on renovations. The building is located near Hensville and formerly housed the Event Center.

Cornerstone Church calls its locations “campuses.” This will be the third in the Toledo area. It has a Maumee and East Toledo campus, as well as a global presence, including in Mexico and South Africa.

The nondenominational charismatic church generally houses its campuses in buildings that do not follow the traditional architecture of churches built years ago.

Bishop Pitts said that choice is for several reasons, one being the time factor in construction is not justified when there are buildings that are vacant and available. Secondly, traditional cathedrals are generally single use, which makes it more difficult to sell should the church outgrow a space.

“Basically the only other person that can buy it is a church,” he said.

Cornerstone Church is often housed in buildings that have more than one use, and will continue in that path for the future downtown site.

For example, the east Toledo campus is at the Eastwood Theater, which runs movies when services are not taking place.

For the downtown building, Cornerstone plans to provide residential units on the third and fourth floors, and office space on the second floor. The church will be located on the primary floor.

Bishop Pitts said that the office space may be a communal space that businesses, freelance to corporate, can rent. If a satellite office needs a space for the day to meet with a client, it could rent a space at Cornerstone. He said the church would provide the equipment needed.

“It is to help build community and encourage small businesses to succeed,” he said.

The church decided on offering residential rental units because estimated figures of those living downtown show there is a need for more living space. It also wanted to add to the total living experience downtown, which city leaders have discussed developing.

“We wanted to be a part of that and positioned so that if people live downtown they will have one of our campuses close to them,” Bishop Pitts said.

While downtown is not short of office space, there are more people wanting to call it home.

There are about 4,500 residents living downtown, said Bill Thomas, president of the Downtown Toledo Development Corporation. He said more people could live there, but the supply is not meeting the demand.

“We have known that going back 10 years; we have a pent up demand of people moving downtown if we had product. About 1,500 people wanted to move downtown and didn’t have a place to move into and that still seems to be the situation today,” Mr. Thomas said.

In terms of spiritual and religious demand, he could not comment, but said in general that having options is a good thing.

“I welcome them to the downtown area. I think the variety is terrific. We have a variety of many things downtown. .. There is an energy and community downtown, and people out walking on the sidewalks and you don’t have that in the suburbs,” he said.

Bishop Pitts said Cornerstone is also considering offering those working in the area services during the weekday, in addition to its Sunday services.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-724-6133, or ntrusso@theblade.com, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.

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