We are entering into a 99-year relationship with Belmont
Village where that organization will lease land on our property for 99 years,
providing income to WPC for that time period. We are also borrowing money from
Belmont to fund our portion of the development, with plans for payoff over 30
The building project will be managed primarily by Belmont
with design and other decisions held by WPC with respect to our
facilities. We will work in partnership to develop our property to
include a new south campus building housing the Preschool, Christian education
space and administrative offices. A new fellowship hall and kitchen will
be built adjacent to the sanctuary, as well as infant/toddler space for events,
an adult education classroom and choir space.
Most importantly, we are being offered a revenue stream
that will enhance the mission of our church for generations to come through
lease payments for 99 years. At the end of the lease, all property returns to
is Belmont Village? What do they do?
Village Senior Living is a fully integrated developer, owner and operator of
Assisted Living communities. Belmont Village was founded in 1997 following a
three year research effort to create a unique, senior-focused community that
reached beyond the existing paradigm in the Assisted Living industry. Sites are
carefully chosen in stable, secure neighborhoods with strong consumer appeal,
and convenient access to the amenities of the surrounding community. Each
Belmont Village community has been designed from the ground up to offer a
superior living experience that is value-priced and tailored to senior living.
are we doing this?
need to upgrade our facilities and plan for routine repair and replacement.
our current facilities are aging and inadequate for the current and future
mission of our church, on November 15, 2015 the congregation voted to authorize
Session to enter into a 99-year ground lease with Belmont. The sanctuary will
remain, and a new building on the site of the Ashton house and the back parking
lot will house the Preschool, Christian Education space, and administrative
offices. The center of the property will have a shared space in which Belmont
will create their own for-profit senior living facility, and we will have a new
fellowship hall, kitchen, nursery, education room, and choir space. Adequate
parking for both Belmont and WPC will be underground.
want to expand our mission and ministry, while planning for capital needs of
December 2014 a task force on “Money, Mission and Faithful Stewardship” was
formed by the Session. The task force was charged to do the following: To
reflect biblically, theologically and strategically about the faithful
stewardship of the monies that will come our way as a result of developing
WPC’s property. It is hoped that the legacy of this income will be to
extend WPC’s mission and ministry, while preserving and enhancing the
commitment of the congregation in their annual stewardship and commitment to
May 19, 2015 the Session approved the recommendations of the task force. The
task force introduced their recommendations with the following Guiding
church campus we enjoy today has come to us as a gift of faithful generations
who, with wisdom and generosity secured our Wilshire property and built a
church facility that has served us for over 60 years. All of it belongs to God
– our call is to steward God’s assets well, in order that current and future
generations of WPC members and friends can continue to be Christ’s visible,
compassionate presence in West Los Angeles and around the world.
revenue from a development project must be used to further the Mission of
WPC, as articulated in its Mission Statement and Essential Practices, and as
overseen by its Session.
“bonus revenue” must not discourage faithful stewardship… as people of faith,
we have the need to give in support of what God is up to in the world. WPC’s Mission has
both internal and external components. We desire to strengthen all we do that
deepens our ability to walk humbly with God, as well as all
that we do to bring justice and kindness to our world’s needs.
recommendations stated that net revenue from the proceeds of the WPC
Development Project should initially be allocated to three distinct
budgets: Program, Capital and Mission and allocated at 25%-Program,
50%-Capital, and 25%-Mission. Capital is initially set on the high end as
there will be significant costs related to furnishing our new facility, as well
as significant deferred maintenance/improvements needed for our sanctuary.
significant recommendation was that Mission & Outreach committee of the
Session establish the vision, values and processes by which we choose and
support mission partners and create strategic mission partnerships that connect
WPC’s “heart” with the needs of the world. Some percentage of the mission
portion of “bonus” revenues will be set aside so that church members can apply
for grants to mission causes of personal importance. The Mission &
Outreach committee will establish and oversee that grant-making process.
did this start?
2012, recognizing that our current facilities are aging and inadequate for the
current and future mission of our church, the Session authorized the Property
Development Committee to begin looking for ways in which we might enter into a
relationship with a partner that would help us develop our Wilshire
property. It was hoped that the development of our property would provide
us with much needed new facilities as well as create a revenue stream that
would enhance our church’s mission. The intention has been to retain our
sanctuary, and use the land on which our current education wing and Hoffman
Hall sit, the parking lot, and the Ashton House to create a shared space in
which a developer would create their own for-profit facility, and WPC would
have expanded space for our ministry needs, and adequate parking for both
We began by studying the current and
future space needs of our congregation and determined that we would need
approximately 26,000 square feet of new space to meet our church’s needs (we
currently have approximately 14,000 square feet). Concurrently, we began
conversations with potential development partners that we felt could be a good
match for our church. We looked at entities that were proven and
well-known for their integrity and quality of the finished product. We
have examined several types of development options and financial structures,
keeping in mind WPC’s values, its mission and its financial needs. We met
several times with each potential partner and ultimately received 3 detailed
proposals from which to choose including proposals for outright purchase of the
property and for a long-term lease. Ultimately, the committee decided it was
preferable to go with a long-term lease.
Why was Belmont selected as our partner?
- Willing to partner with us
through a ground lease, as opposed to a sale of a portion of our property.
- A general sense that the
mission of Belmont was more in keeping with the mission of WPC than
high-end condominiums, which was the other option.
- History of local development
and success completing projects in the area & throughout the U.S.
- Belmont’s financial background
and the strength of its financing partner.
- Demonstrated concern for the
needs and priorities of WPC.
- The Belmont executive team’s
ability to communicate and work cooperatively.
How are we paying for this project?
in the church approval process, the church was informed that the cost of the
entire project would be borne by the developer. What does this mean?
Will we have a mortgage?
- Belmont and its financial
partner, Welltower, are financing WPC’s building costs for 30 years at
4.5% interest. So, we did not need to go to an external lender to obtain a
traditional mortgage to facilitate our part of the project. We are
repaying this “loan” from Belmont by a reduction of the ground rent over
those 30 years. The Church has the option to repay Belmont in whole or in
part in advance at any time.
- Ground rent is an annual amount
Belmont will pay WPC for 99 years in exchange for leasing land on our
premises for their part of the project. Belmont’s rent will increase every
five years based on agreed to formulas. So, the amount of net income after
paying the cost of the WPC improvements will increase on a regular basis
during the 30 years we are paying that off to Belmont and through the
remainder of the 99-year lease.
- In order to reduce the total
amount of the cost to be financed through our partner, a gift of $4
million dollars, coupled with fundraising to raise $1 million to cover the
estimated cost of $5 million total for the Preschool facilities, has
reduced the overall financing cost of the project.
- WPC may need to solicit funding
for furnishings and other items in the future. In addition, the
significant revenue stream produced by this project will allow us to
deepen our church’s mission work.
What is the church’s decision-making structure?
Book of Order which guides Presbyterian churches establishes
Presbyterian polity by requiring each particular congregation be led by a Board
of ruling Elders called the Session. The WPC Session comprised of 18
elected and ordained Elders, plus the Pastors, has responsibility for governing
and guiding the congregation so that it is and becomes a community of faith,
hope, love, and witness. This role includes managing the physical property of
the congregation for the furtherance of its mission, as well as the church’s
budget, mission and program.
order to be responsive to the various issues and obligations that will arise
during the development project, the Session created an administrative
commission to act on its behalf through the development process. (Book
Administrative Commission – The Session administrative commission will
act on behalf of Session through the development process. The commission will
implement Session decisions and keep Session informed of its actions. The
Administrative Commission may create committees to assist in aspects of the
development process. (Session minutes, February 16, 2016)
churches do not operate like congregational churches where members vote on all
issues facing the church. Our representative form of government has
elected representatives filling this role and the congregation chooses those representatives
when it elects members of the Session. Only issues relating to buying,
selling, and mortgaging church property and the call of Pastors is subject to
approval by the congregation. On November 15, 2015, the WPC congregation
approved leasing church property (not including the sanctuary) for 99 years to
Belmont. The Presbytery of the Pacific is working with WPC, and its approval is
needed on the final form of the lease document. As
needed, ad hoc committees of the Session Administrative Commission will
meet regarding design, construction, and communications & logistics.