At 4:30 today, the City of Minneapolis’s Planning Commission Committee is meeting to discuss a developer’s request to build a five-story mixed use building at 5009 Beard Ave. South. At that address, currently, is a church that houses Lake Harriet Christian Church Childcare. In September 2021 the owners of the church put it up for sale. It was sold for over $1.5 million.The listing reads, “Beautiful 1950's church located on the corner of 50th & Beard on half-acre lot. Only blocks from 50th & France with amenities galore! Perfect spot for your new or existing church, or investment opportunity to repurpose the land for single family or multi-family homes.”

Peter Crandall, a senior city planner with the city, is presenting the memorandum at the meeting today and told me it isn’t uncommon for properties to be demolished for redevelopment. He also told me that the discussion is happening very early in the development process. Right now, Crandall’s job as a city planner is to evaluate the proposal against policies and land use restrictions. The goal of the discussion today is for Crandall to familiarize the planning committee with the project and get informal feedback to send back to the developer.

City records show the current owner is still Lake Harriet Christian Church. The current taxpayer is Beard Manager, LCC, a company that formed two months ago. The LCC’s address is the same as Yellow Tree LLC, a commercial real estate development and construction firm.

Places of worship are not protected from demolishment. Crandall explained that the only way the church could be protected is for the building to be deemed a historic resource. According to the city, once a property is designated for heritage preservation, a property cannot be modified or demolished without being reviewed by Community Planning & Economic Development and the Heritage Preservation Commission.” Because the church is not listed as a historic resource, it doesn’t have any special protections from demolition.

Crandal stressed that the current development proposal may change because the development is in its very early stages. I reached out to Lake Harriet Christian Church but did not get a reply.