Saturday, March 8, 2008

Downtown conversion: a church into condos

By Jeff Swiatek

Some 11 old age ago, Noblesville mechanical applied scientist Herb Masiuk got a impression to purchase the run-down, barely-in-use former John John Fletcher Topographic Point United Methodist Church.

New look: The Fletcher Pointe condominiums have high-end kitchens. The transformed Business District edifice was the former John Fletcher Topographic Point United Methodist Church. Units will be priced from $850,000 to about $1.2 million. - ALAN PETERSIME / The Star

FLETCHER POINTE >> What: Four condoes in the former John John Fletcher Topographic Point United Methodist Church.>> Location: 501 Fletcher Ave.>> Developers: Herb and January Masiuk and Uncle Tom McCalley.>> List broker: Joe Everhart of Sycamore Group.>> Price range: $850,000 to $1.2 million.>> Features: Units include garage parking, elevators, terrace with a H2O fountain, vino basement and a shared lobby.

Having wrapped up his work designing the mechanical systems in Circle Centre mall, "he'd been looking for a large project," said his wife, January Craig Masiuk.

She agreed with her hubby that the old brick Christian church showed promise for a bold new use, despite jobs like a spire that toppled over decennaries ago, causing chronic roof leaks; obsolete mechanical systems; debris piled up inside; and dust that billowed into the air with every step.

The Masiuks plunked down about $40,000 and the edifice at the sou'-east corner of Business District was theirs.

Last week, January Masiuk admired the consequences of a decennary of work, most of it done in the past 18 months. The one-time Wesleyan church, after a little life as a feast hallway operated by the Masiuks, have been condo-ized, its beamed sanctuary split in one-half to throw two of the grandest condominiums Business District have seen. They come up with 35-foot ceilings and stained-glass windows befitting a cathedral.

"I am so happy to see it like this. From where it was when we got it . . . it's just amazing," said January Masiuk.

Instead of slicing the 1872 Christian church into multiple littler condominium units, the Masiuks and developer Uncle Tom McCalley decided to make just four. The two sanctuary units of measurement of measurement spreading over 3,700 foursquare feet each, with the ground-floor units holding about 2,700. Sale terms for what now is called John Fletcher Pointe volition run from $850,000 to about $1.2 million.

That will rank among the peak terms for condominiums on the South side of Downtown. Currently 15 condominiums in Center Township are listed for more than than $1 million on the Agent List Cooperative. All are Business District and only two are south of the Mile Square, both in the Villagio, a newly built upscale condominium tower that sit downs across Old Dominion Avenue from John Fletcher Pointe condos.

Selling a Business District condominium for seven figs isn't the hazard it used to be.

"I am not that concerned about it. We only have got four units. There really is not much to vie against," said McCalley, who have got developed flats and condominiums across the country.

Not to state that John Fletcher Pointe, which began merchandising its units of measurement to agents last week, will have an easy sell, said Kurt Flock, frailty president of Flock Real Number Estate Group, which specialises in selling Downtown.

"It's a slippery market. People demand amenities, parking, positions of some kind," Flock said. Moreover, condominium users can be loath to purchase into new undertakings like John John Fletcher Pointe not knowing if the terms they pay for their unit of measurement will throw up over time, he said.

Buyers of condominiums in the million-dollar range have got good ground to worry: "What if I purchase in and they begin lowering the terms to acquire the other units of measurement sold?" Flock said.

Fletcher Pointe is full of high-end amenities. All units of measurement of measurement of measurement of measurement include garage parking, elevators, a terrace with a H2O fountain, a vino cellar and usage of a shared lobby.

The greatest designing challenge involved installing $175,000 worth of steel beams in the basement to shore up the garage after brick pillars were removed to do room for parking, McCalley said.

Halakar Properties have got got tapped into the same high-priced condo marketplace with its 3 Mass Condos project, a 10-story midrise being built at 333 Bay State Ave. Although it won't unfastened until springtime 2009, 16 of the 44 units have been presold to purchasers who have set down $25,000 nonrefundable deposits, said Meghan DeMars, senior place adviser for Halakar.

Five units in 3 Mass Condos are listed for sale over $1 million.

The fact that high-priced condo units are selling, even in the human face of a weak lodging market, "speaks volumes" about the depth of the Business District lodging market, DeMars said.

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