Fairfield church sold, but congregation still has a place

The Fairfield United Church has been sold to a local developer, but the congregation hopes to remain on site with space in the new proposal.

JN Development Group Ltd. of Victoria bought the site at Fairfield Road and Moss Street in June. The sale included the 300-seat church building and the adjacent hall.

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The property is across the street from Sir James Douglas Elementary School and near a cluster of small businesses in Fairfield.

Design details, including church space, are still in the works, Rev. Beth Walker said.

The church is in discussions with JN Development, hoping to find a few thousand square feet to use in the same location.

A JN spokesperson could not be reached on Friday. The Victoria firm’s past projects include the Clive rental apartment project in Oak Bay.

Declining congregation numbers, maintenance costs and anticipated upgrades prompted the church to put the property, at 1303 Fairfield Rd., up for sale, the church said on its website.

The church went on the market in February at $1.24 million. Walker did not disclose the selling price, but said it topped the asking price. Proceeds will go toward supporting the church in its new space, she said.

Existing zoning allows single-family use, but the official community plan describes the area as a small urban village, according to the Colliers International real estate brochure used to market the site. The plans says small urban villages offer a mix of commercial and community services in low-rise, multi-unit residential and mixed-use buildings, generally up to four storeys in height.

Walker anticipates that the existing church will be available for the congregation into 2017. After that, activities would continue in rented or borrowed space until the new project is complete.

Efforts were made over the past year to use the buildings as a performing centre, but it only has three toilets, no “green room,” and outdated electrical wiring, Walker said.

The hall was built in the early 1900s and the church building in 1925, she said. They are not on the city’s heritage registry and would be dismantled.

A dance company that had used the facility has already moved out, she said.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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