UUFP Planning Weekly Update—Tabbs Lane, 2/25/24

Piece by piece, our vision is coming together!
Thanks to the UUFP Planning and Real Estate teams for faithful updates on the Fellowship's search for and selection of its new home!
The following "Planning Weekly Update" (excerpted from his 2/18/24 Sunday Forum presentation) is provided by
UUFP member and retired commercial realtor
Jay Joseph.


This update covers my comments from the February 18, 2024, Sunday Forum about the real estate fundamentals of 326 Tabbs Lane, our potential new home.

We have been seeking a new home for over four years and have considered, and rejected, dozens of properties, including the former St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and the former Emmanuel Lutheran Church, both in Hampton. Our goals remain to at least double our building size, increase our green space, and remain convenient for our members. Tabbs Lane would almost triple our building size, from 5,500 to 14,560 sq. ft., and would more than triple our land area, from under two acres to more than six acres. We would be better able to fulfill our mission by having a larger sanctuary, a commercial kitchen, a spacious fellowship hall, and more classrooms and offices.

Tabbs Lane has stable and attractive neighbors, including well-maintained single-family homes to the west and north; undeveloped, environmentally sensitive land to the south; and a well-fenced small apartment property to the east.  Lucas Creek wraps around the neighborhood, discouraging through-traffic. I view it to be an improvement, albeit with less drive-by visibility, over our current location on Youngs Mill Lane. It is, overall, a quieter, safer neighborhood, and only 1.6 miles from our current church home.

Other aspects of the local neighborhood are similarly favorable for a potential Tabbs Lane purchase. In particular, the City of Newport News owns the 32-acre site, formerly known as Sherwood Shopping Center, that fronts on Warwick Boulevard and anchors the entrance to the Tabbs Lane neighborhood. The City’s Capital Improvement Plan contemplates spending $90 million to create the Sherwood Governmental Center to improve accessibility to City services and support the redevelopment and enhancement of the Denbigh-Warwick area, all of which is very good news for the Tabbs Lane property.

Here’s where we are in the process: The UUFP signed the contract to purchase Tabbs Lane on November 27, 2023, at a price of $1,350,000 or $93 per square foot. The contract is contingent on a satisfactory review of the property (ongoing through March 26, 2024)  and an affirmative vote of our members. Based on the prices for comparable properties, this price is fair. Of course that assumes that as we complete our review, the repair estimates Parker Stokes described in his Sunday Forum are acceptable to us and within our budget.  

The contract initially called for closing by late March, but we amended it to give ourselves two additional months to complete our inspections, pricing, and planning. Therefore,  we will complete our discernment process by late March, and will hold two informational Town Hall Meetings for the congregation, likely on Sundays, March 24 and April 7, 2024. 

The Planning Committee has scheduled Sunday, April 14, 2024, for the congregational vote on purchasing the Tabbs Lane property. With a positive congregational vote, we then close on the property in mid-May. 

After closing, we will do the required stormwater remediation, replace several HVAC units, purchase and install a commercial refrigerator, likely renovate the entry area, paint, and so on, with specific priorities still under consideration by the Planning Committee.

Thank you, all, for your patience in this extremely detailed process. 

In community,

Jay Joseph, retired commercial realtor

Grow in Wonder ~ Connect in Love ~ Engage in Service ~ Inspire Generosity

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