Church banks on building new parish center on financial site

Parishioners overflow the sanctuary of St. Joseph Catholic Church at Sunday’s late-morning Spanish Mass in downtown Grand Junction. The church has purchased one acre of adjacent land, where it plans to build a two-story parish center with offices at a cost of $10 to 12 million.

St. Joseph Catholic Church has purchased a sliver of land from US Bank at the northwest corner of Fourth Street and White Avenue, hoping to one day soon build a new parish center to accommodate its expanding congregation.

The church bought the roughly one-acre parcel in downtown Grand Junction for $725,000 and closed on the deal last month. The property runs the length of Fourth Street between Grand and White avenues and serves as a parking lot for bank employees.

“We need to build because we’re growing, and there are more demands for services,” the Rev. Edmundo Valera said, estimating the church serves 4,000 English- and Spanish-speaking congregants. “We just don’t have the space.”

The purchase gives St. Joseph ownership of all of the land between Third and Fourth streets and Grand and White avenues.

St. Joseph’s parish hall is more than 100 years old and formerly served as the church sanctuary. The current sanctuary was built in the early 1990s.

Valera said architects have estimated a two-story parish center, which would feature classrooms, meeting space and offices, could cost $10 million to $12 million. He said the church doesn’t have any money for the project and doesn’t know when construction might begin.

St. Joseph had its eye on the bank parking lot for several years, but its price kept the church at bay. Five years ago, the parcel appraised at $1.2 million, according to Toni Heiden-Moran, the owner of Heiden Homes Realty and a church member who negotiated the purchase on behalf of St. Joseph.

Then the recession hit, and the value of commercial land began to drop to a price point the church could afford.

“We are excited about doing a beautification of Grand Avenue because right now it’s just a parking lot,” Heiden-Moran said. “Once we’re able to have a capital campaign, it will definitely enhance that corridor.”

US Bank will be able to continue using the property for parking for at least a year, Valera said.


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