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Frequently Asked Questions

1) Why have we chosen the former downtown YMCA location? Aren’t there existing churches for sale or empty land available? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to build a new building?

For more than six years, the Redeemer Property Search committee has evaluated existing church buildings, vacant land, and land with buildings. It was the conclusion of the committee that there are very few affordable and available opportunities for a home in Redeemer’s target area. Therefore, with the recommendation of the Property Committee, the Session decided the former downtown YMCA location fits our goals for permanence perfectly.

In terms of location, this site is optimal. Being only two blocks from Redeemer’s original worship site, the Bright Shawl, this location is familiar to many longtime members. More importantly though, this location is situated in downtown San Antonio’s River North Urban District, which is currently a hotspot for new economic activity. The vitality of this area is easily seen through the recent addition of the northern reach of the River Walk, the $130 million plus renovation of the nearby Municipal Auditorium, the upscale Pearl Brewery redevelopment and the new, urban lofts, condos and apartments being built along Broadway Ave.

In terms of cost, this project is economical when compared to what it would cost to acquire raw land in the urban core of San Antonio and build a new facility. For example, if Redeemer were to purchase this amount of land for the current price and build a new, modest building with identical square footage, the total cost of the project would likely exceed $10 million. This is more than twice the cost of the currently proposed project.

Therefore, in terms of cost, strategic location and availability, the Session believes the downtown YMCA is the right one.

2) How large is the facility? What is the plan to repurpose this facility? Will we be able to office, worship, fellowship and carry on weekly activities after Phase 1?

The YMCA contains a total of 56,248 sq. ft. including mechanical equipment space and the balcony that will be added. The current Phase 1 plan has renovated 40,589 sq. ft. as usable area for RPC’s worship space, offices and various ministries.

3) What is the plan for the future? Can we grow in this facility? What happens if we outgrow this facility?

The addition 17,147 sq ft of area not renovated in Phase 1 can be easily added to the total ministry space in the future with very economical interior renovations. This future renovation would have minimal disruption to the ongoing use of the facility.

4) What is the overall cost of the project? What is the funding strategy? Will we take on debt? Does Redeemer have an official position on debt?

The estimated cost of the total project is $5.45 million. It is broken down into two parts. First, we purchased the YMCA land and building "as is" for $2.2 million. The Building Design committee and Jackson Galloway Architects estimated the cost for Phase 1 renovation at $3.45 million. We propose to fund the entire project with $1 million that is already set aside, bank financing and a capital campaign.

Redeemer’s leadership does not have an official position on debt, but we are not opposed to it. We are committed to the highest fiscal standards in line with biblical principles.

5) Is there adequate parking for this facility?

The Building Design team provided a study that illustrated 1085 parking spaces within two blocks of the YMCA building. This does not include the 41 spaces on the YMCA property or any street parking. This study did not count hotel parking that could be in use on Sunday mornings. It has been recommended that RPC have a long-term agreement for exclusive use of one or more adjacent parking lots as do other neighboring churches.

6) Is this downtown location safe? Will it be safe to travel there at night? Will it be safe for children and their activities?

Historically, downtown San Antonio has the reputation of being safe. Even so, San Antonio is the state’s second largest city, the 24th largest metropolitan area in the nation and is visited by more than 26 million visitors annually. This means that precautions must always being taken when downtown.

Recently, one of our members said, "I have worked in the downtown for almost 8 years, [have located] our business downtown and [do most of our work] there. During the day I have no problem. In areas that don't have a lot of foot traffic at night, you just have to be smart about your surroundings." These comments reflect what is true for the downtown of any large city. Locking up and hiding away valuables in our cars, parking in well-lighted areas and walking in groups are always smart practices.

Specifically, Redeemer does not anticipate any greater degree or concern for crime at the YMCA than we have had throughout our church’s history. In addition, the church maintains a security system for the building and hires security officers for worship services and major events.

7) What are the projected, annual utility costs? What are the projected, annual maintenance costs?

Jackson Galloway has examined the utility bills for that past few years of the YMCA use and projects the likely annual budgets needed by RPC:

  • Electricity - $4,500/mo. or $54,000/yr.
  • Water - $500/mo. or $6,000/yr.
  • Security System - $1,000/yr.
  • Phone and IT - $5,000/yr.

Projected maintenance costs on a newly renovated building needed are:

  • Heating and Air Conditioning - $10,000/yr.
  • Janitorial - $15,000/yr.
  • Plumbing - $1,500/yr.
  • Electrician - $500/yr.

Total combined utility and maintenance costs per year are estimated to be $93,000.

8) Will we be able to gather for church wide fellowship dinner/lunches? Will we have a commercial kitchen?

Gathered meals and parties have always been central to Redeemer’s life. This will not change. We will have a large foyer to continue our custom of cookies and coffee. In addition, we will have a multi-purpose room large enough to host a congregation-wide meal.

The initial remodel does not plan for building a commercial kitchen, but there will be a small kitchen area that will accommodate plenty of food storage, warming and preparation for meals. It is hoped in a future phase that Redeemer could build a commercial kitchen.

9) Now that we have moved, do community groups no longer meet in homes across the city?

Even though we have a building, we are still a church that exists throughout the city for the whole city. Our community groups will continue to reflect that reality and meet in homes across the city.

10) How has acquiring the YMCA enhanced Redeemer’s ministry to the city of San Antonio?

Located right off the I-35 corridor, the main traffic artery for San Antonio, means Redeemer is right in the heart of San Antonio. This location makes Redeemer not only more accessible to a greater number of people, but also to people from a greater diversity of backgrounds, both ethnically and socio-economically.

Being mere blocks from “The Pearl,” which is one of the most active areas of residential and commercial development in Texas, means that our church is also very close to many young professionals and their families moving nearby. One of the known characteristics, socially speaking, of such residential and economic development, is an influx of people that are open to change and who will be looking for new beginnings. Redeemer has the unique opportunity to speak to the needs and aspirations of these individuals and their families.

In addition, one block from the YMCA is Madison Square Park, which contains two blocks of green and recreational space. It is common to see many couples and families throughout the year utilizing and enjoying this park, particularly in the afternoons and on weekends. This park provides a ready-made ministry space for Redeemer to connect and bear witness to the surrounding community.

11) Has moving to the YMCA changed our relationships to Rogers Elementary and Edison High School?

Our relationship with both schools is based on more than geography. Ours is a relationship of trust, service, and cooperation. Like any good and productive partnership, this one will not decline because we moved a few miles from the area. People from Redeemer who are currently mentoring at both schools, helping to serve lunch to the staff and teachers, and participating in Redeemer Serves the City!, will continue to do so. We also look forward to our continued participation in Rogers Elementary School Parent Meetings and hosting the Redeemer Soccer Camp during each summer. This means that both schools will not see a decline of our service or presence.

Additionally, we are excited to see our presence maturing to the point where we now see the real possibility for a Spanish/bilingual community group for the families in that area. We hope this initiative provides even deeper roots and greater intentionality to our presence and service to our friends at both Rogers Elementary and Edison High School.