A trend that’s seen ITP churches converted to a wide array of new uses the past few years is continuing in downtown Decatur.
Decatur law partners Kyle Williams and Eric Teusink recently closed a $3.2-million sale for the historic Decatur UMC Chapel property, where Sycamore Street meets Commerce Drive downtown.
The chapel has stood on that corner since 1902, and an adjacent stone school building included in the deal was built in the 1950s, Teusink tells Urbanize Atlanta.
With city zoning approvals in hand, Teusink said an adaptive-reuse renovation costing between $2 million and $2.5 million should begin soon.
Plans call for the Williams Teusink firm to occupy the top two floors of the school building—roughly 10,000 square feet—while leasing the bottom floor to another tenant in the short-term. (Eventually, Teusink said the law firm’s offices will take all floors.)
Meanwhile, next door, the chapel is going to serve as an event space for the firm—one with dramatic wood arches and no shortage of stained glass. The property’s seller, Decatur First United Methodist Church, will retain some rights to use the chapel for member services, weddings, and funerals.
Teusink said the redo is expected to finish this fall, with Decatur’s Office of Design architecture firm drawing up plans.
“We’re working with the state and National Park Service to ensure [the property is] renovated in a historically responsible manner,” Teusink wrote in an email.
Atlanta’s penchant for converting churches into condos, offices, and other purposes began with the redevelopment of a Poncey-Highland sanctuary into the 22-condo Providence on Ponce project nearly 20 years ago. The trend gathered steam following the Great Recession, and notable examples include Dad’s Garage’s comedy space in Old Fourth Ward, the upscale Lizzie Chapel Flats condos in Inman Park, architecture firm Kronberg U+A’s offices in Reynoldstown, and more recently, the 1200 Ponce project that’s transforming Druid Hills United Methodist Church into condos.
In Decatur, Teusink’s firm has experience in the realm of age-old conversions, having flipped downtown’s historic The High House into their current offices. That 1829 structure, located across the street from Decatur UMC Chapel, is believed to be among the oldest in DeKalb County, according to Teusink.
“Our city and region doesn't have the best track record when it comes to preserving our architectural legacy,” Teusink said. “We find it fulfilling to preserve buildings in metro Atlanta. We hope to do future historic deals.”
• Decatur (Urbanize Atlanta)