New offices, event center proposed for old church in St. Anne’s Hill

A real estate brokerage firm wants to spend about $1 million to renovate a church in St. Anne’s Hill for its new offices and a special events center.

Glasshouse Realty Group wants to convert the 11,340-square-foot former St. Luke’s United Church of Christ building at 14 Potomac St. into new uses as professional offices and an assembly hall.

Glasshouse brokers and owners Mo Zahedi and Evan Kloth purchased the church for $240,000 in early 2019. They believe their project will add to Dayton’s revitalization, particularly in historic districts.

“The church is gorgeous,” Zahedi said. “It’s got quite a bit of character.”

“We obviously want the support of the neighborhood for anything we decide to do long-term,” he said. “With the support of St. Anne’s, if we could do small events there that would be fantastic as well.”

Glasshouse plans to create about 6,615 square feet of office space and 4,727 square feet of special events space, according to city of Dayton zoning documents.

In that zoning district, assembly halls are not permitted and require a variance, and professional offices require conditional use review and approval from Dayton’s Board of Zoning Appeals. Glasshouse has applied for these approvals with the city.

Glasshouse wants to use the sanctuary space for business meetings, trainings, neighborhood community meetings, holiday parties and possibly other kinds of events, Zahedi said.

The church is beautiful and has its original stained-glass windows and unique architecture and wood work, he said.

The property has been empty for several years, and previous ownership apparently tried to turn the property into residential uses, Zahedi said.

The church is structurally sound, but is in need of significant repairs, including a new roof, heating and cooling systems and some window replacements, he said.

Zahedi said if things go smoothly renovations could begin in the first quarter of 2021. They could take six to eight months.

Glasshouse Realty’s main office is at 226 E. Sixth St. in the Oregon District. The company, which employs about 70 people, also has a southern office in Centerville.

About 50 employees likely would work out of the new church property. Glasshouse Realty turns two years old later this year.

Glasshouse wants to be part of Dayton’s growth and resurgence, and its historic districts are special, Zahedi said.

Dayton’s office market has shown some resiliency, after struggling for many years with high vacancy rates and a significant amount of obsolete product.

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