The developer purchasing a 158-year-old Oregon District church says the building’s next chapter might involve a restaurant, apartments and shops.
As this news organization first reported, St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church located at 239 Wayne Ave. is in the process of being sold to Weyland Ventures, the developers of The Wheelhouse project, located nearby at 210 Wayne Ave.
Mariah Gratz, Weyland Ventures’ CEO, said her Louisville-based company is evaluating the best use of the church, but it could be the future site of retail business and a restaurant.
The parish hall could be used as housing, she said.
“We have some initial concepts. We have not finalized that,” she said. “We have to finish up our market studies and analysis.”
St. Paul’s will close December 31. The church dates back to 1859. Its steeple was built around 1869, and the parish hall in 1954.
Gratz said the company plans to keep the building’s features.
“We love historic buildings,” she said. “We try to save them, especially the ones that have good bones and and stories to tell.”
The Wheelhouse Lofts are in the historic Weustoff and Getz building, which was constructed in 1868.
That development includes a 40-unit apartment building and a Troll Pub restaurant and bar location.
Speakeasy Yoga also plans to open a second location in the Wheelhouse building, Gratz told this news organization.
St. Paul pastor Robert E. Miller said in July that the church will close at the end of the year and was looking for a buyer.
The church now has fewer than 100 members and many are elderly. The average age of a worshiper is 73. The church can only pay 40 percent of its bills through collections. The rest comes from its dwindling investment fund.
Earlier this week, Miller said the congregation intends to “pay it forward” by supporting charitable causes and its employees. Additional details will be released later about its plans.
Gratz said the building’s sale is expected to be finalized by the end of the year. The building fits into the Weyland’s overall plans for development in Dayton, she said. More development is possible.
“We always have our eye on the area,” Gratz said. “We will be looking for strategic pieces when they pop up.”