City on a Hill mission grows with purchase of neighboring building

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

COH medical building cutline No. 1The 6,000-square foot former medical center is across the street from where City on a Hill is located.City on a Hill executive director Gary Ellens said the Zeeland-based ministry has purchased a former medical building for a "significantly less" cost that will enable it to offer additional space to the community nonprofits it refers to as its ministry partners.

"Realistically we're maxed out," Ellens said of the 100,000-square foot building that formerly was Zeeland Community Hospital located at 100 Pine Street. COH purchased the building in 2006.

Need for space grows

COH leases affordable space, utilities and other amenities to more than 40 ministries and nonprofits that support families in crisis, serve people with special needs, counsel people with addictions, mentor elementary school students and more.

COH also operates four ministries itself: the City on a Hill Clinic, City on a Hill ATLAS, Leader Renewal and City on a Hill Café.

Reason for purchase

All these ministries and nonprofits and the 100,000-square feet of space they are housed in are maxed out.

COH medical building cutline No. 2City on a Hill executive director Gary Ellens said the greatly reduced purchase price “is an incredible donation, a true blessing.”"We do have nooks and crannies that are not real usable, so in terms of usable, leasable space, most has been leased by our ministry partners," Ellens said.

That was a compelling reason to purchase the former Zeeland Medical Center at 200 Taft Street that's across the street from COH.

Ellens said the previous owner owned the building for more than 30 years but has been challenged finding tenants willing to rent space since Zeeland Community Hospital relocated.

In so doing, the 6,000-square foot building will enable COH to serve more ministries and community nonprofits, Ellens said.

Ellens said COH purchased the building on a five-year land contract for $140,000, roughly half of its market value. It's the first building COH has purchased since it occupied the former hospital nearly 10 years ago.

Purchase price made it possible

"The purchase was made possible by a very low price – one half of its assessed value – that reflects a sizeable donation on the part of the building's former long-time owners," Ellens said. "Lease payments are expected to cover the land contract payments.

"It's hard to say how many ministries could lease space at the medical center," Ellens added. "It has four suites, so it's possible to have four there but it's also possible to have it subdivided and have two or three in one suite."

The former Zeeland Medical Center COH now owns is in a neighborhood already identified by its faith-based organizations: Zeeland Christian School, Faith Church and City on a Hill. Adding the office building to City on a Hill will put it to good use and grow the ministry without disrupting the neighborhood.

"Ultimately, our mission is to provide low-cost space to ministries. This allows us to do more of that," Ellens said.
Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
Author: Paul R. KopenkoskeyWebsite:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

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