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The 11th Commandment: Sell

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The 11th Commandment: Sell
Tomorrow, CBRE launches the marketing of the historic Marywood Pastoral Center on behalf of the Catholic Diocese of Orange County. The listing is being handled by a San Diego-based division that focuses exclusively on church properties.
The 11th Commandment: Sell
On Friday, we chatted with SVP Eric Knowles, leader of CBRE's national religious facilities practice group, composed of 35 agents located in offices throughout the US. It's definitely a niche, but ?you?d be surprised? at the deal volume, he tells us. The group tracks every religious facility that's for sale or has sold, length of time on the market, notices of default, and foreclosures (it does a lot of work with banks on foreclosed churches). Last year, $234M in religious facilities were sold in SoCal with an average price of $171/SF. Eric notes that churches are morphing due to the economy and real estate values: ?They're having to share facilities today, which we didn't see as much of four or five years ago.? Recently, the religious facilities group sold 37 acres to a homebuilder on behalf of the diocese in Oceanside.
The 11th Commandment: Sell
The Marywood center comprises 100k SF of improvements on a 15-acre, hilltop site (great for sermons) with ocean views in Orange. The church is leaving for its new home in the Christ Cathedral—the former Crystal Cathedral of Robert Schuller?s Hour of Power fame. The property was built in 1961 as an all-girls parochial high school and includes a nunnery. The marketing will target a broader audience than religious orgs, though. With conference spaces, two commercial kitchens, and dorms, Eric figures it would make a great educational campus or a training facility for corporate users. He's brought Ted Snell and Chris Gates of CBRE's Newport Beach office onto the Marywood marketing team.
The 11th Commandment: Sell
Eric says most of his group's deals involve creativity: Churches are asking how they can afford facilities. ?Our response is you need to have someone in it more than one day a week.? One way is to lease out facilities, often to a preschool or charter school, so the group's bringing tenants to the table as part of its service. Eric has focused on religious properties for 13 of his 26 years in the CRE biz. As the only CRE broker on the San Diego Rescue Mission?s board back then, he helped the nonprofit org buy a building. ?Next thing I knew, I was helping my first church.? It takes patience to deal with the conditional use, parking, and decision by committee issues, but he enjoys working with the clientele. ?By and large, they're good people.?