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Posted on Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Memorial Christian Church listed for $1.8 million after deal with fraternity falls through

By Lizzy Alfs

A local church with a 120-year-old history in Ann Arbor is looking to relocate from its location at 724 & 730 Tappan St. and is listing the property near the University of Michigan campus for sale.

The 15,560-square-foot building owned by the Memorial Christian Church is located on the northwest corner of Tappan and Hill. The property is listed for $1,799,000 with Lisa Loesel of CB Richard Ellis.


The Memorial Christian Church property at 724 & 730 Tappan near the University of Michigan campus in downtown Ann Arbor is up for sale.

Lizzy Alfs |

Although there were plans in the works for a University of Michigan fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, to purchase the property to convert to a fraternity house, Jo Ella Coles with the Memorial Christian Church said the deal recently fell through.

“For about a year we were dealing specifically with the fraternity, but at this point, the deal fell through so the property is on the open market,” Coles said.

The fraternity won approval from the Ann Arbor Planning Commission for a special exception use to allow the fraternity to convert the church in March.

According to a previous report, the plan was to house 44 fraternity members in the building after undertaking a $3 million interior renovation.

However, the recent listing of the property raises questions about Sigma Phi Epsilon's plans. The fraternity is located in a house at 704 Hill St.

Jerry Mangona, a professional financial advisor and president of the fraternity’s alumni association, declined to comment on the details of the deal, but said that the organization is still looking into purchasing the property.

“What I can say is that our financial dealings are not complete,” Mangona said. “We’ve made a request to bring negotiations to completion and we’re waiting on that request.”

The Memorial Christian Church was founded in Ann Arbor in 1891, moving to its current site on Tappan in 1923, according to a city staff report.

Coles said the church is looking to relocate to a residential community outside of the student-dense area on Tappan and Hill.

“We’re trying to move to a location that would give us a bit of opportunity to do more mission and service work in a community,” she said. “The student population is a little more transient. We want an opportunity to be more engaged and involved in the community in which we’re located.”

The organization will move out of the Tappan building at the end of July into a temporary space at 5141 Platt Road in Pittsfield Township, she said. From there, she said they hope to purchase a new building in the Pittsfield area for the church.

While Coles is unsure whether they will find a new owner for the Tappan property before moving, she said there has been interest in the space from several people.

“We’ve had a handful of folks that have looked at the building,” she said. “We are looking for a buyer because we prefer not to rent it. We prefer to sell it.”

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


Anne Zerban

Sun, Jul 10, 2011 : 5:55 a.m.

That building and location are an Ann Arbor jewel. For the perfect buyer, that building would make a great restaurant or office building.


Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 2:26 p.m.

@Tru2Blu76-There are plenty of homes close to this area that sell for near or over $1M, its the College Heights neighborhood near Angell School. I think A2 has plenty of multimillionaires to go around. The frat wanted MCC to assist in the financing of those renovations, a burden that MCC wasn't willing to take on. As with most churches with a declining congregation, funds are very limited. Maybe some of those former frat members who are probably successful in their careers can assist the frat and "give back." The selling price came from the recommendation of CB Richard Ellis real estate company. Though seemingly a prime location, the property didn't fit into UM's master plan for the area. Hopefully its prime location will attract a buyer before the year ends. With a 120 year history in A2, I'm just shocked that those various historical commission's throughout the city didn't attempt to make the church some type of landmark and "preserve" its stance in the community. Oh sorry, no mayoral input.

You're My Boy Blue

Sun, Jul 10, 2011 : 5:39 a.m.

$1.8MM is pretty steep. You say that there plenty of homes selling for over $1 Million, but while Rich Rod's fully built-out mansion lists for $1.9MM complete with waterfalls and patios, is the church ready for a buyer to move-in? Good luck, though.Didn't you hear? We're in an economic downturn! <a href=""></a> Hope you find a buyer it'll help bring up comps for some of the rentals nearby.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 9:02 p.m.

@Tru2Blu76: The asking price is stated in the second paragraph of the article.


Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 1:24 a.m.

I believe what TruBlu76 meant was the asking price in regards to the deal with the fraterity. For various reasons that asking price could be quite different than what the property is listed at now....


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 8:56 p.m.

I'm a novice when it comes to real estate. If a $3 million renovation is involved, what's the asking price? What we need is more multi-millionaires in this town. A lot of them like buying multimillion dollar houses for themselves, their families and of course, for their pet giraffes. Seems like this property would be ideal for that kind of buyer. ---- Hey Ricky $nyder, we got a house that's perfect for you! By the way: I never heard what arrangements were made for transporting our current governor from his &quot;cottage&quot; east of Ann Arbor to - our state capital (where he's supposed to be working on &quot;important stuff&quot;). The other day, I did see a 2-rotor MNG helicopter (CH-47 Chinook) coming from the direction of $nyder's Estate and heading W-NW in the general direction of Lansing. Does anyone know the per-hour cost of operating a Chinook helicopter?