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Posted on Thu, Mar 15, 2012 : 12:44 p.m.

Fraternity buys ex-Memorial Christian Church near University of Michigan campus

By Lizzy Alfs

After years of negotiations, members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity plan to move into their new home this fall: the former Memorial Christian Church near the University of Michigan campus.

The 15,560-square-foot building -- which was listed for sale for $1.8 million this summer -- is located on the corner of Tappan and Hill streets.


Members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon plan to move into the former Memorial Christian Church this fall.

Lizzy Alfs |

After finalizing the purchase of the building earlier this year, renovations began in January to convert offices into bedrooms, study space, and a social and dining area for 44 members to move into the house, the Michigan Daily reports.

The Ann Arbor Planning Commission approved a special exception use to allow Sig Ep to convert the church into a fraternity house in March 2011, but the property was put on the open market last summer when the deal temporarily fell through.

Now that the deal is finalized, the fraternity estimated the cost of the renovation project will total more than $3 million, according to the report. Sig Ep received more than $700,000 in pledges from alumni to help finance.

Ypsilanti-based Phoenix Contractors and Ann Arbor-based Hobbs + Black Architects -- which was founded by a Sig Ep alum -- are working on the project.

The building will not undergo any external changes as part of the renovation.

Members of Sig Ep currently live in a former apartment complex on Hill Street near State Street that they transformed into a fraternity house.

The Memorial Christian Church -- which moved into the Tappan house in 1923 -- relocated to a temporary space in Pittsfield Township at the end of July to get away from the student housing area.

A representative from the church told they plan to purchase a building in the Pittsfield Township area for a permanent church location.

Read the full Michigan Daily report here.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at


Ricardo Queso

Fri, Mar 16, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

Good luck with your new residence Brothers! HFF!


Thu, Mar 15, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

"This comment is hidden because you have submitted an abuse report against it. Hide Details" What is this? and why does it say that for my post??...

Lizzy Alfs

Thu, Mar 15, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

Sorry about that. We are in the process of fixing some bugs with our new commenting system right now. If you want to read more about the new features read here:


Thu, Mar 15, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

Joe I had the same thing I logged out and looked and my comment was still there.Must be a glitch of some sort


Thu, Mar 15, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

Good Luck, and hope the frat takes care of this house, and it's inheritance.


Thu, Mar 15, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

Hopefully the frat doesn't turn this house upside down on the inside. They re-built their house on the corner there and then still trashed it, ahead of it closing/burning. Oy.


Thu, Mar 15, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

Beautiful building for a fraternity house. I hope the members treat it with respect. There have been a few fraternities on campus that have absolutely trashed their houses in recent years.


Thu, Mar 15, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

Didn't Sig Eps' house used to be on the corner of State and Hill and it burned down about 20 years ago? I remember that was a day much like today...sunny....warm....but there was black smoke pouring out of that big ol' house.


Thu, Mar 15, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.

And more: The Daily from 1994. takes me back: Bosnia, Unabomber, Seinfeld, flannel...,1250835


Thu, Mar 15, 2012 : 6:24 p.m.

Well, from the Daily article: "According to Mangona, Sig Ep surrendered its charter in October 1994 following sanctions over a hazing incident. The local chapter still owned the house that the fraternity had formerly occupied, but numerous problems plagued the property, including substantial intentional damage and a fire in September 1995. The blaze, believed to be caused by vagrants, significantly reduced the amount of funding the University had offered to pay to recover the house from Comerica Bank. "

John Alan

Thu, Mar 15, 2012 : 5:52 p.m.

I am glad it worked out. Fantastic Location. Very wise move. Good Luck.