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Neighborhood Meeting about CRC Building

April 8, 2024
Photo by Alissa Vernon, courtesy of The Banner.

Meijer, Inc., a midwest grocery store chain, is holding a meeting for neighbors located near the U.S. denominational headquarters of the Christian Reformed Church in North America with regard to potential future uses of the site. 

The CRCNA’s building at 1700 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids, Mich., went on the market Sept. 5, 2023. At almost 12 acres, it is a large property on a busy corner in the city of Grand Rapids. 

Meijer presented an option contract on the property on Jan. 5, 2024. An option contract is not an offer, but it does take the property off the market for a time while the potential buyer does their due diligence concerning inspections and other criteria involved in potentially purchasing a property.

As part of that due diligence, Meijer is planning to hold a meeting soon for people who live in the surrounding neighborhood to be informed of the plan for the property and to ask questions. 

The Christian Reformed Church in North America was established in 1857. The idea of having a denominational building was introduced in 1945 at the annual gathering of synod, made up of church representatives delegated from across the U.S. and Canada. A year later, synod approved the direction, but it took seven years to find a suitable and affordable location. 

Locations that were considered at the time included downtown Grand Rapids, where the publishing offices were currently operating; near the so-called east campus of Calvin College (now University); and near Chicago. In 1953, synod decided to purchase the property at 28th Street and Kalamazoo at a cost not to exceed $50,000.

On June 9, 1955, cornerstone-laying ceremonies were held. In 1956, it could be reported that the denomination building had been completed “by the good hand of our God . . . without any serious mishaps.” The cost of the land and the building, furnishings, and new equipment was reported to be about $665,500. 

Since the laying of the cornerstone nearly 70 years ago, there have been several reconfigurations of the building to meet the changing needs of the denomination, including two major renovations: one in 1967 and the other in 1987.

The CRCNA’s current need for office space is much less than the building has available—about 75 percent less—due to increased regionalization of ministry staff, an increase in staff working remotely after the COVID-19 pandemic, and World Renew’s recent move to a place where their ministry can be housed at one location. In 2023, a decision was made to put the CRCNA building up for sale and to search for a smaller building that will serve as the next denominational ministry support center.

Staff have found a location and are proceeding with their due diligence on the property. Details will be shared as soon as it is appropriate to do so.

Please address any questions to Dan DeKam, U.S. director of ministry operations, or Kristen deRoo Vanderberg, director of communications and marketing.