Take a look at this former church in San Francisco’s Mission District that has spared no expense for its re-do and furnishings.
It’s for sale for $7,490,000.
COMING SOON! Formerly the Golden Gate Lutheran Church, this stunning Gothic Revival style building is now one of the most extraordinary and largest single family homes in San Francisco. This one-of-a-kind property features an enormous living area that includes the original sanctuary with soaring, coffered and hand-painted ceilings, arched windows framing Dolores Park as well as most of the original stained glass windows, custom mahogany wood finishes, four fireplaces (2 wood-burning & 2 gas), a new chef's kitchen and a spacious dining room. The Master suite level features a marble Roman tub room, dressing room and incredible 360 degree views from the tower meditation room and deck. The home includes an expansive ground floor level that could be used as exhibition space, recording studio, gym and/or home office. There is also a garage that accommodates 4-6 cars.
Falling Through Cracks / City churches are closing because they can't afford earthquake retrofitting
Even with its parapets and stained glass, Golden Gate Lutheran Church on the corner of 19th Street and Dolores in the Mission isn't the prettiest building around. Truth be told, the red-brick edifice built in 1912 has a bit of the humble workhorse about it. Nor does it attract the most worshippers. According to Pastor Ed Miller, the congregation of active members amounts to only about 35 or 40 people.
But like so many inner-city churches, it made itself relevant -- and for some people indispensable -- by filling gaps in our yawning social safety net. Until recently, it was a bustle of activity morning, noon and night. Over two dozen 12-step programs met there weekly, some with hundreds of participants.
In the past few years, the church housed a homeless shelter and a preschool. Four afternoons a week, it sponsored a drop-in program for anyone who needed a hot meal and a place to come in off the streets.
Three other churches -- two Pentecostal churches (one gay and one straight) and a Mennonite church -- shared the sanctuary for worshipping services. In the purest sense of the word, despite the small congregation, the church had become a refuge. For those without family, it offered fellowship. For those without government assistance (or enough of it), it offered food, shelter and other basic needs.
Now the building grows ever quieter as its many groups search for other places to meet. Soon the doors will close altogether. Then the church will enter a real estate no-man's-land. Why? Because it's caught between a seismic building code and a very hard place.
Golden Gate Lutheran Church is only one of over 25 places of worship and an estimated 2,500 buildings around the city that have been affected by new seismic codes for unreinforced masonry buildings. In the years since the unreinforced masonry building code was written in 1992 (generally referred to as the UMB code), most of these buildings have been brought up to code or demolished.
But an estimated 300 buildings -- including several churches and synagogues -- remain noncompliant. Feb. 15 was the deadline for bringing all buildings in San Francisco into compliance, so the city is stepping up its efforts, after granting repeated extensions to property owners.
"We try to be as fair as we can," said UMB building inspector Jerry Sullivan. "We try to make it clear to property owners what their legal responsibility is."
But for many congregations, fulfilling that legal responsibility carries too high a price.
"We just can't afford it," said Miller from his shadowy book-lined office off the sanctuary. He told me the church had made a good-faith effort to bring the building into compliance, spending $130,000 to fix the roof and parapets in 1998. But the estimates for the interior work -- around $2.5 million -- are far beyond the community's means.