ORLANDO, Fla. - This is unusual for Downtown Orlando: an acre of land in the heart of the city that could be yours, if the offer is right. The church across the street has owned the parcel for more than a hundred years, and they said now was the right time to sell.
"We've made the decision that that asset could better serve us if we were to sell it and use that money to perpetually care for our primary facilities," said Pastor Vance Rains, with First United Methodist Church of Orlando.
The land sits between the FUMC and the Grand Bohemian Hotel, right next to the front lawn of the Doctor Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and a stone's throw from City Hall.
Pastor Rains said it just didn't make sense to hold on to the property, anymore. "We have a lot of property downtown, and it's just expensive to maintain such a large footprint with the cost of insurance and maintaining old buildings."
The church's preschool currently sits on the property, along with a parking lot.
They're closing the school this week and including the building with the sale. Matthew Messier from Foundry Commercial is working on the deal. He said it reflected the ways that worship was changing, like people attending remotely. "Churches can get by with a lot less real estate and do more ministry than you did back many years ago."
The land is coming on the marking in the next few weeks. Church leaders said they didn’t have any timeline on when they wanted it sold or any specific asking price. The church was founded in 1882.
Church leaders and realtors said they would work with any interested buyers, they just wanted to make sure they would also be friends.
"Many think that most likely it will be residential," Rains said, "So that's our business is people so if across the street we have several hundred neighbors, that would be great. We'll find ways to be good neighbors and offer programs and serve them."