SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — A historic church in San Jose may be torn down in the near future. Two-thirds of the church congregation voted to sell the property to a real estate developer.
However, some church members are trying to stop that from happening.
Grace Baptist Church, in downtown San Jose, was built in the 1940s. Reverend George Oliver says times have changed.
“We have struggled since the murders in our church at the shelter,” he said.
Police investigated two murder cases at the homeless shelter inside the church in November 2020.
On top of that, Oliver says their struggling financially. The church started this year with $60,000 in the bank.
“That’s not enough to pay my salary, combined salary with the rest of the employees, or pay the bills,” Oliver says.
But the church sits in a prime downtown location. Two-thirds of the church congregation voted to sell the 1.3 acre property to a real estate developer.
A multi-million dollar deal would tear down the church and replace the property with mid-rise apartments.
To stop the deal, some church members approached the city to try make the church a historic landmark.
“They did this on their own after two-thirds of the church voted for a historic development project… that two-thirds majority many of them African American and Hispanic, many of them trying to disenfranchise them are largely white,” the reverend says.
Rev. Oliver says the developer will build them a new facility.
“The historic mission will still be there, and the historic people that make the church, will remain at 10th and San Fernando.”