Pursuing Our New Home

Rebuilding the Tribune as a Place for the People

With our time at Studebaker 112 coming to an end, we’ve searched the city, discerned together, and landed on a plan. We’re going to transform the Tribune printing press building into a new home for SBCC and a place for the people of South Bend. It’s time for us to secure the purchase and begin the renovation. In order to do that, we’re making financial commitments to resource the project through a two-year period of giving above and beyond our general fund support that began Easter Sunday 2022.

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We understand you may have questions...

Through listening sessions over the last several months, questions have surfaced, and we want to answer those here. In addition, we seek to be transparent regarding the financial aspects of this project. If you have any additional questions, please contact us at info@southbendcitychurch.com.

  • In connecting with our landlord, it has become apparent that we can no longer stay in our current space after our lease is up because they have other uses for it.  We’ve received proposals for other solutions that would keep us at Studebaker in another part of the development, but in evaluating those possibilities alongside the Tribune building, the Tribune has emerged as a better solution for our long-term future.
  • Secure a long-term home for our church.
  • Be better stewards of our resources by owning rather than renting.
  • Restore an old, empty building in the heart of downtown with new life.
  • Share our home with community partners who can use it all week long.
  • As we began to plan for the end of our current lease, we took time to evaluate how much we were spending yearly in rent and what that would look like over time. 
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, we also became painfully aware that we were spending money on a lease for a space we were not able to use. When we compared the numbers of purchasing to renting, we believed it was the best financial decision to own rather than lease. 
  • Two years ago when we started to feel the pinch of growth, we started to explore what a future location would look like. We estimated what was needed for square footage for all of the spaces, but we also had other considerations like: a lobby where people could connect without having to be quiet while a gathering is happening; a kids’ space that has a unique space designed for them; and safe hallways. 
  • We were looking for a space with certain square footage capacities for what our needs are, central to downtown but within walking distance of places like Hope Ministries. We were in a blighted building that was central to South Bend that met the above criteria, and the Tribune matched it exactly.
  • We considered several other downtown South Bend properties. 
  • Property owners were either not interested in selling, the layout of the building did not suit, or the cost of the overall project was going to be too much.
  • Building on a piece of land, even donated land, exceeded costs of renovating the Tribune building. We also value the rejuvenation of an existing historic building.
  • The shell of the Tribune building is solid and intact. The building we are purchasing was built in 1993. 
  • Improvements would be all-new HVAC and electrical, to switch over from its prior use as a printing press building. 
  • The general layout will stay the same, and we will add more windows to have natural light in our space, walls for kids’ rooms, and meeting rooms. 
  • The loading dock area will be turned into a courtyard entrance with ADA accessibility. The warehouse will be painted, with lights and windows added to create a connection area that will be versatile for needs throughout the week for student ministries or other uses for the common good of our city. 
  • The lower level of the press building will be built out to accommodate kids’ rooms and a large group area for kids, with added windows. The gathering space will need some demolition of existing walls to create more of an open space, as well as filling the hole in the floor. Lighting and acoustics will be necessary for the gathering space.
  • The space will give some much needed breathing room for our growing kids’ ministry, as well as a lobby that allows for people to stay awhile. 
  • Right now conversations are limited by time and space in our current lobby because of no seating, a curtain that does not block sound, and by the small space. 
  • Our kids’ rooms are filling up, and we do not have any room for expansion in our current space. 
  • Our hope is with such a centrally located space that we would be able to work with community partners who can use the building for the common good throughout the week.  We are currently connecting with organizations that would like to utilize the space for meetings, events, and programs, or even storage. 
  • Our hope is that we are able to serve the city with our space while not having to create more ministries.
  • Join us in praying for our continued role as a place of grace and peace in our city, especially through this fundraising process. As we move into our new home, pray that we will continue to be a good neighbor in the city, meeting on common ground for common good.
  • Pray about what your involvement looks like in this project for our city.
  • Look for future discussions regarding space planning and community impact in the months ahead, and plan to be a part of those conversations.
  • If your questions are not answered here, please ask them by emailing info@southbendcitychurch.com
  • Watch the videos above and listen to this message to get a better understanding of the vision behind the project.  
  • Consider in-kind donations if that is something available to you.
  • Pledges will be accepted throughout the course of the project. You can access the commitment form here.
  • The reason a pledge is necessary is that this is what the lending institution will use to approve a mortgage, and the amount committed will help determine the total scope of the project.  
  • The money is currently being collected over a 24-month period that began on April 17, 2022.
  • There will be a unique giving category named “Tribune Project.”
  • You can send your gift or give it in person. If you use mail or in-person gatherings to give, we ask that you somehow designate your gifts toward our new home by adding “Tribune Project” in a note or check memo.
  • We have specific funds created on our giving page and in our database that allows us to make sure that every dollar given goes to the fund chosen. 
  • If someone gives to the “Care” fund, then that money goes to a benevolence care need in our community. In this case, all money given to the “Tribune Project” fund will go toward this project.

The original goal was $3 million. Talks with financial institutions and designers are ongoing to match the scope of the project to funds raised. We will have a mortgage, the payments to which are less than or equal to our current rent payments and fit within our reasonable and expected budget.

  • We will secure a loan to cover the cost of purchase and construction. 
  • We will have a settlement on the property, begin drafting specific architectural plans in coordination with community partners, and start construction. 
  • Our hope is to time the move when our lease ends, but we may have to extend our lease month-to-month or be nomadic for a period before construction is complete.

There is plenty of on-street parking around the Tribune as well as a parking garage with more than 500 free parking spaces available located at the corner of Main and Colfax. (Incidentally, the distance from the parking garage to the Tribune building is the same distance from the black gate to the doorstep of Studebaker 112). In addition, we are currently talking with a neighbor of the Tribune building about other parking lot options. 

It depends on the outcome of this fundraising project and how much of the renovations we are able to accomplish. If we are successful in reaching our goal to completely renovate our building, then fundraising will be complete. We are mindful if we don’t, then a phased approach would mean another fundraising effort in the future.

The reality is we don’t know, but that is how we see faith working itself out in the real world. We have a hunch based on our due diligence that this is the best next step and have certainly been praying along the way. We discerned these steps in community with one another, and there have been a lot of wise people who have shared support for this plan. We are looking forward to seeing what happens.

You can determine your giving rhythm and indicate on the commitment form what works for you. Upfront gifts are very much appreciated because they will lessen the amount needed to be financed for this project.

Renovating the Tribune

Just like we did at Studebaker 112, we’ll take a building with a significant history in our city that has fallen out of use and fill it with life again, creating a place for the people. Not only will it be the home for South Bend City Church, with plenty of space for adult gatherings and kids’ ministry, but it will allow us to increase our community partnerships, too. 

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