Notice of Congregational Vote - Weekend of April 27 & 28, 2019

Seeking Congregational Authorization to:

 

  1. Sell our warehouse building to UIF for development as their long-term office and headquarters.
  2. Finalize a 10-year lease with UIF that ensures their continued access to ACAC’s shareable ministry space. 
  3. Expand the scope of our Hub building project to significantly increase usable ministry space without adding cost to our congregation.

Every C&MA church is required to receive the authorization of its congregation before purchasing, mortgaging, selling or conveying real estate. As a result, as planning and design work on our Campus Redesign initiative has continued, we have arrived at a place where the input and authorization of our congregation is needed to move forward on the above-mentioned proposals.  Moreover, in this dynamic redesign and construction process, there will undoubtedly come additional times in the months ahead when ACAC’s members will be similarly engaged to voice their approval of the plans under consideration.

You have authorized!

As you are aware, ACAC’s membership has previously authorized the plan put forward by church leadership in the Next Gen Faith Campaign. Among other things, this plan embraces the Campus Redesign initiative, including the construction of a new Campus Hub building ($7.8M projected cost) and renovations to existing facilities ($1.6M projected cost). 

Also, as you have individually prayed and asked God about your personal involvement in the Next Gen Faith Campaign, 678 of you have pledged $7,154,224 in financial support toward this initiative. As of February 28, 2019, just eight months into the 36-month campaign, your generosity has already accounted for over $1.8M in contributions against your pledges.

 

Church leadership has advanced!

Based on your authorization, our various church leadership Boards and Committees have been advancing the Campus Redesign initiative. Discussions continue with the Allegheny Health Network on a potential parking garage, but we have not received any firm commitments at this point. Therefore, we have determined to prioritize and move ahead expeditiously with the construction of our Campus Hub building. We have also worked on alternative parking solutions for the long term should the Health System ultimately decide not to partner with ACAC on a major new parking garage project.

In February 2019, our church leaders selected a local architectural design firm, POH - Pieper O’Brien  Herr, and builder, Franjo Construction, as partners with ACAC on the Hub project. This was a significant decision, arrived at only after a thorough process of consideration involving many qualified competitors who responded to our Request for Proposal.

God is continuing to enhance!

Last spring (2018), as we met with congregants to discuss the proposal for the Next Gen Faith Campaign, and specifically the Campus Redesign initiative, one question, invariably, was asked of our staff presenters. ACAC members wanted to know “Where is the room for Urban Impact Foundation (UIF) in these plans”?   The answer given was always honest and hopeful, though not always altogether satisfying.  “The plan is to continue to share programming space with UIF, just as we’ve always done,” we explained.  “However, we haven’t yet found a way to provide office space for UIF’s growing staff in the campus redesign.  And that’s problematic for both organizations; both ACAC and UIF want our staff members to continue serving collaboratively and in close proximity on our campus. But after working hard to try to find a way for that to happen, we have so far come up empty-handed.”

The other question asked frequently by our members had to do with the high cost of the Hub space, especially when considered on a cost-per-square-foot basis. Recall that the firm that helped us with the concept plan for the Hub, a company named COSCO, works exclusively in the field of church construction. Although based in Florida, they had excellent referrals from other Pittsburgh-area churches, and they were extremely helpful in guiding our team through a process of considering our needs and possible solutions.

However, in the final analysis, a COSCO-designed Hub building was projected to cost nearly $300/sq.ft. for the usable ministry space on the basement and first floor/lobby levels, and about half that amount for unfinished space on the Hub’s second floor. These were (admittedly) very high cost estimates by COSCO that were intended to give us an understanding of the highest potential cost of the project. However, the subsequent competitive bidding process has led us to believe that the actual project will cost less than these original estimates.   

So, even in approving the plan by an overwhelming margin, our congregation was concerned about maximizing the value in the Hub construction, and about finding room for UIF’s staff.

Our ACAC Elder Board shared both concerns. At an early 2018 meeting, the Board charged our pastoral staff to keep looking for new ways to make room for UIF’s offices on our redesigned campus. They also charged us to “think bigger” about the Hub. The Board was concerned that our 3-level Hub design (finished basement and first floor lobby with an unfinished 2nd floor) might constrain future growth. Adding to this concern was professional advice cautioning that, once built, local laws and building codes might prohibit us from ever adding another floor onto the Hub. Much better to build higher now, rather than hope to be able to do so in the future, they advised.  

A Win-Win Solution!

Therefore, we believe the recommendations being presented for a congregational vote at this time are God-ordered enhancements that address both concerns raised by our members and Board of Elders.

To resolve the question of a new future home for UIF, our discussions turned toward the one building that had not factored heavily in ACAC’s own campus redesign plans, the warehouse. In addition, UIF had expressed their strong desire to not only identify the location of their future offices, but also to ensure that their arts, sports and educational outreach programs would continue have access to ACAC’s shareable program spaces. Both organizations sought to craft a win-win solution. 

The proposed sale of the raw, unfinished warehouse storage building to Urban Impact, for $400K, would give UIF the permanent headquarters and office space on our campus for which both ACAC and UIF had sought.

Concurrent with this transaction, UIF would secure long-term access to shareable program space at ACAC by agreeing to a new 10-year lease with an option to renew for an additional five years. UIF’s rental payments over the initial 10-year lease term would total between $600K and $1M (see below). Taken together, the benefits of these transactions would include:

    1. UIF’s planned development of the unsightly warehouse space ($1.9M projected cost to UIF) into a beautiful part of our campus
    2. A 10-year guarantee to UIF for continued use of ACAC’s program space in the same manner as the organizations share the space today, and
    3. An infusion of resources totaling between $1M and $1.4M, including $400K at closing on the sale of the warehouse, and the balance in lease payments spread over 10 years, that ACAC can use toward the construction of new shareable ministry spaces in the Hub.

 

An important factor in the development of this plan was the idea that the funding from UIF for the warehouse and lease would allow ACAC to immediately “swap” 9,400 sq. ft. of raw, unfinished storage space in the warehouse for the cost of adding a similar footprint of new shareable ministry space in yet another new floor of the Hub.  As a result, we are proposing to expand the Hub building project from three floors (including a finished basement and first floor lobby, and an unfinished 2nd floor) to four floors, all finished and available to be used immediately for ministry.

So, the Reader’s Digest version of the story is as follows.

  • These proposals represent a win for UIF. They would own and renovate an incredible headquarters building in the very best location for their ministry–on our campus.

UIF would also enjoy the security of continued access to their key ministry spaces at ACAC well into the future.

 

  • But the plan is also a win for ACAC. We would get to bring our children home into a spacious new setting. Our church family could reconnect in a welcoming new lobby. Our students, adults, staff and ministries would enjoy up to two additional floors in the Hub for gathering and programming. Both the financial resources provided by UIF and the lower construction cost estimates would enable ACAC to double the available new ministry space at no additional cost to our donors. Simple. Connected. Roomy. Welcoming.

Which brings us to the need for a congregational vote. Our Board of Operations, with the support of our Elder Board, has put forward the following resolutions, which, if affirmed by a vote of our members, would authorize the Board to move ahead with these Campus Redesign plan enhancements.

Know that in the weeks ahead, prior to the scheduled congregational vote on the weekend of April 27 and 28, we will have much more information for you regarding these proposals. We’ll also hold live meetings at the church and on-line meetings on Facebook Live to solicit your feedback and questions. Throughout the next weeks, we’ll also be building a library of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) on our web page and church app that you can turn to as a resource to educate yourself about these significant matters.

Resolutions approved by the Board of Operations for a Vote of the Congregation:

1. The membership of ACAC authorizes the Board of Operations, to complete the sale of ACAC’s warehouse building to the Urban Impact Foundation (UIF) for use as their headquarters and office space for $400,000. It is understood that the sale will be contingent upon the following:

A reasonable plan is in place for UIF to renovate and use the warehouse for permanent offices.

A 10-year lease agreement is executed (concurrently) to rent future program space in ACAC’s Campus Hub and other facilities.

Provisions are in effect to assure that should UIF ever decide to sell the warehouse building, ACAC will have a right of first refusal to repurchase the building.

2. The membership of ACAC authorizes the Board of Operations to complete a 10-year lease agreement with a five-year renewal option with the Urban Impact Foundation (UIF) for the use of shareable ministry space in our campus facilities. The lease will begin upon the completion of our Campus Hub building and ensure continued availability of ministry space to UIF in a manner consistent with current (2019) usage. It is understood the lease will also provide for:

Total (10-year) rental amounts from UIF of not less than $600K or more than $1M, plus interest. Rental payments will be made in equal monthly installments over the term of the lease.

The exact rental amount will be determined, per agreement, based on the final construction and financing costs incurred by ACAC to add an additional above-ground floor onto the Hub.

3. The membership of ACAC authorizes the Board of Operations to expand the scope of the Campus Hub project to add as much as a full additional third above-ground floor to the building. (Note: The Hub had previously been proposed as including a basement and two above-ground floors, with the second floor being unfinished.) In doing so, it is understood that:

The design of the Hub will be a collaborative effort between the church staff, congregational leadership, and our architectural design partners. The authority for final approval of the design will fall to the Board of Operations, acting at its discretion on behalf of the congregation.

The financial contribution expected of the ACAC congregation via Faith Campaign donations will not exceed the previously authorized $7.8M.