Research Outline

Churches in the United States: Redevelopment Research


To have a broad understanding of churches and their real estate assets. An ideal response would include examples (case studies) of where churches have been redeveloped and the organizations that are advising churches and non-profits on what to do with their real estate assets. These redeveloping uses should be ones that serve the church's mission. Some ideas are retail, music venue, multi-family, senior living, affordable housing and contemporary worship. These uses can be public or private.

Early Findings

Organizations that are Advising Churches

  • "In addition to zoning issues, churches can face other obstacles when trying to build housing on land they own. Affordable development funded through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, a major source of financing for subsidized housing, tends to be for medium- to large-scale developments. That’s too big for some faith institutions, according to the Berkeley study. Developers of affordable housing have had to find ways to fit more housing on single parcels as land costs have increased; larger buildings allow them to account for those costs." That is where YIGBY (Yes, In God's Back Yard) can step in to help churches navigate those financial complexities. YIGBY seeks to “establish a different species of affordable housing and construction finance to expedite and economize production of high quality, eco-friendly basic housing as infrastructure for vulnerable populations,” The group plans to use low-interest loans through Self-Help Federal Credit Union and donations from philanthropists.

Summary Of Our Early Findings Relevant To The Goals

  • Our initial hour of research was spent scanning to ensure that there was publicly available data surrounding the research questions, and then providing some salient information, data, and statistics surrounding the ask to set the table for future research.
  • As discussed at the top of this document, Wonder only uses publicly available sources available to everyone without a membership. The request to use resources like ULI and others like it cannot be honored as we do not have access to them. However, there should be enough publicly available sources to address the questions asked. We can also provide links to any paid sources that we do locate that might address parts of the research question. If that is desirable, that would clearly have to be communicated to us in any reply.
  • We noted that the word "Church" was used, which seems to include any kind of religion, but then we also noted the use of the words " Catholic church". Please be clear with us as to what the focus should be by providing direction in the response to any research selected. Unless that is indicated, we will go broad.
  • Please select one or more of the options provided in the proposed scoping section below.