450 North Prince Street Q&A

What began the process of EMM deciding to purchase a building in Lancaster City?

Over the years, various EMM personnel have explored the idea of relocating the EMM administrative offices to Lancaster City. Personnel explored various options and opportunities, but did not move forward with any of them. The discussion for a possible relocation emerged again in 2013 when President Nelson Okanya and the EMM Leadership Team commissioned an Innovation Group of EMM staff members. The Innovation Group was given this single question, “How might we create a stronger organizational culture of creativity throughout EMM?” One of the things coming out of the Innovation Group was a rebirth of the idea of EMM moving to the city. This included looking at several properties as well as delving into reasons/strategies for moving to the city.

Why would EMM move to the city?
Our vision for a city presence is continuing to develop. Key statements from our original vision document include:

  1. We envision staff members being an incarnational witness in a more populated location.
  2. We envision EMM facilities in a location with greater proximity to partnering congregations and other ministries.
  3. We envision EMM connecting more intentionally/naturally with a younger, urban-oriented population.
  4. We envision EMM in a commercial environment with proximity to business and professional environments.
  5. We envision EMM’s cross-cultural expertise being multiplied into new ministries and partnership opportunities in an urban context.
  6. We envision a corporate culture characterized by skill in changing and adapting to a changing world, because of the daily practice of working in an urban context.
  7. We envision enhanced opportunities for missional and discipleship training in an urban context.
  8. We envision a strengthened team environment with all staff functioning and relating in one building.

How does this property purchase fit into the broader EMM vision?
EMM’s presence in Lancaster City is a commitment to be involved in discipleship and mission locally. We aim for local involvement to complement and support our work elsewhere around the world. Increasingly, our constituency tells us that they want to be involved locally as well as globally. We see our potential involvement in Lancaster City as one expression of our local involvement.  

Is EMM planning to move all of its staff to North Prince Street?
Yes, EMM is planning to move its administrative offices downtown as progress allows.

What funds did EMM use to purchase the building?
Nearly half of the funds came from a property fund account that had been set up years ago when EMM sold buildings in Salunga and elsewhere. The remaining funds came from equity funds (reserves). The purchase was a board-approved decision.

Does EMM have a comprehensive business plan for creating a presence in Lancaster?
EMM leadership created a full business plan early in 2015. The business plan includes vision statements and rationale, the relocation process, stakeholders’ perspective and communication with them, property assessments, and other practical details. Initially the plan called for a capital campaign to occur before EMM purchased a property. EMM dropped the capital campaign as outlined in the plan when the seller reduced the price of the building by nearly 50 percent. We have developed a capital campaign to renovate and partially endow the building's use.

Why did EMM purchase the building on such short notice?
On June 1, 2015, the seller offered the building to EMM at a significantly lower price than had been previously listed. The seller gave EMM a few days to make a decision. EMM leadership (including the board) considered the options: Do we let this opportunity pass or do we purchase more quickly than we had anticipated? The location, size, quality, and greatly reduced price of the building led EMM leadership toward a decision to purchase the building. EMM acquired the building for $1,044,000. The original list price was $1,940,000.

How old is the building? Is it in good shape? Has it been inspected?
The building was inspected by fire, building code, and city inspectors prior to the purchase. The building is fully up to code including the fire sprinkler and alarm system.

How is the interior of the building constructed?
The building is a total of 32,000 square feet. This includes 21,000 square feet of finished space and 10,000 square feet of indoor parking. The indoor parking spaces are in an underground and first floor parking area accessible from the rear of the building. The finished internal layout is primarily office space. There is a large open area on the first floor. There is a second floor three-bedroom apartment on the Water Street side (rear) of the building.

What is the history of the building?
The North Prince Street building was built in 1923 as an auto dealership. Eventually it was sold to a land developer, who leased it to Newsletters Ink, a marketing company. The building has been mostly vacant for the past number of years.

Does the building have adequate parking?
The building comes with 12 outdoor parking spaces and 39 indoor parking spaces.  

For comparison purposes, what does EMM own in Salunga?
EMM owns three adjoining properties in Salunga, Pa. The appraised value of the Salunga properties totals approximately $1 million. The Salunga campus includes a total of approximately 20,000 square feet of building space; the primary working space is used for 35 individual offices, three conference rooms, a mailroom, and a large assembly room. The Salunga campus includes 62 parking spaces.