Work continues on the former First United Methodist Church downtown, which is being renamed Centre@501. The building, which has been vacant since 2008, is undergoing an $8.4 million redevelopment to convert the space to 25 residential units as well as commercial space. Funding is being provided through a variety of sources, including New Market Tax Credits, Federal Historic Tax Credits, Tax Increment Financing, and Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credits.

When complete, Centre@501 will consist of 25 residential units ranging from one to two bedrooms from 780 to 1,040 square feet. Rents will range from $700 to $1,150 per month. The former sanctuary and a portion of the first floor of the building will provide commercial office space for three nonprofit community-based organizations that include The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, The Springfield Black Chamber of Commerce and The Springfield Project, a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO). All three organizations have a shared mission of economic development and collectively have nine full time employees. The development will also have 11,000 square feet of prime commercial space available for lease.

The mixed-use development will keep The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the Springfield Black Chamber of Commerce and The Springfield Project in the same building, while rehabilitating a vacant church in the downtown core that has been unused for a decade. Additional local food programming, combined with a commercial kitchen, will further bring Sangamon County’s rural agricultural industry and urban core together.

The previous property owner, Irv Smith, and his family’s legacy were recently honored with a plaque dedication ceremony that will forever memorialize the Smiths’ dedication to the Springfield community and commitment to the revitalization of downtown. The plaque was presented to Smith by Brian Hollenback, president and CEO for Economic Growth Corporation, the developer for the project.

Smith initially had bold plans to redevelop the former Methodist Church when he purchased the property. He later agreed to sell the property at a price significantly lower than market value, which in turn, generated additional resources through the State of Illinois State Donation Tax Credit Program.  The development team includes Economic Growth Corporation, O’Shea Builders as the general contractor, Evan Lloyd Architects and Home Base Property Management (an affiliate of GROWTH) as property manager.