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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Mar. 6, 2018 1 year ago

Historic Ormond Beach Riverside Church on the market for $1 million

The city of Ormond Beach has expressed interest.
by: Jarleene Almenas News Editor

The Ormond Beach Riverside Church, Ormond's first house of worship, is being sold for $1 million, with several groups expressing interest in purchasing, including the city.

Michael Carruthers, current owner and pastor of the church, said the church will be relocating in Ormond Beach, citing growth as the deciding factor for selling the historic building. 

"It's a prime piece of property here, but we need to go where we can grow," Pastor Michael Carruthers said. 

According to realtor Buzzy Porter, the church is being sold as one piece of property but is entertaining offers of separating the parcels. He said the property has been on the market for about four months, and, that seven different groups have expressed interest. He added he has not had a formal answer from the city to date on its interest.

Interest in the church property was brought up in the City Commission workshop on Feb. 20, by City Commissioner Dwight Selby, who is also a real estate broker. He said the asking price was very aggressive and that several area developers had looked at it and backed off. He added that it was a property that if bought, he couldn't see going on the market again for a while.

"I think it's a very strategic piece of land," Selby said at the workshop. 

Due to its location at 56 N. Beach St., adjacent to the historic Anderson-Price Memorial building and its proximity to the downtown, Selby said at the workshop there were compelling reasons for the city should at least take a look at it. The discussion among the commissioners then turned to perhaps converting the church into a civic center for the community.

The city is currently conducting a property appraisal for the property, which according to Joe Mannarino, director of economic development, could take a few more weeks to complete.

"Once completed, staff will review the appraisal and bring forth recommendations to the Commission at a future date, which is yet to be determined," said Mannarino in an email. 

The Ormond Beach Riverside Church was renamed from Ormond Beach Union Church in Sept. 23, 2012, after a vote under Carruthers' leadership. Carruthers declined to say how many members were in the congregation, saying he couldn't see how that was "pertinent" to him selling the church. In 2014 though, Carruthers filed a libel lawsuit against a former assistant pastor regarding statements made that he said caused the loss of 15 members.

"Not like we don't like it here," Carruthers said. "It's just a matter of the future."

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