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Church transformed into luxury home up for sale in St. Petersburg

Developers turned the 1928 Grace Lutheran Church into a luxury home after a neighborhood association fought to save the historic building.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — In the middle of St. Pete’s Crescent Heights neighborhood, a unique house went on the market last week.

Originally built as Grace Lutheran Church back in 1928, it was once a gathering place for worship, voting and special events.

So when a developer bought the property with plans to tear the church down, the neighborhood association fought to keep the sanctuary standing.

“They decided that they wanted to have the church declared historical,” said home developer Scott Herald, who invested in the project.

Herald worked with builder Jason Sanchez and the city of St. Petersburg to come up with an alternate plan which included saving the original church sanctuary and transforming it into a home while leaving the outside unchanged.

An architect designed the interior, transforming this near 100-year-old house of God into a house for the living.

Credit: Bryan Belcher
A look at the inside of what was originally the Grace Lutheran Church. Developers transformed the building into a luxury home.

“It’s a well balance between old and new and that is what we were looking for,” said Herald of the finished project.

Inside you can pull up a pew at the dinner table or head upstairs for a good night’s sleep.

"The master bedroom is the choir loft,” Sanchez said. There’s even a swimming pool out back.

The home went on the market this week, but the developers say it won’t be available long.

"I had an offer in hand the first hour of it hitting the market,” said realtor Bryan Belcher, who confirms even the neighborhood association is pleased with how the project turned out.

“I was scheduled to have what I thought was about 10 people the walk-through on Wednesday night. I ended up having over 200 people walk through the property.  Some of them went to church there as children and haven’t been there in the church since they were 6, 7, 8 years old,” Belcher said.

There’s no doubt it was a challenging project filled with frustration, but the developers say the hard work is now all paying off. The home is expected to go above the asking price, which is around $1.3 million.

“It’s truly been a rewarding and learning experience,” Herald said. “We’re just thrilled that we’re at the point they we are at.”

Read more about the original church's history here.

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