Demolition began Monday on the former Knox-Metropolitan United Church near Whyte Avenue, which has been closed for several years.
The decades-old building, on the corner of 109 Street and 83 Avenue in Garneau, is being torn down to make way for a condo development.
In the 1950s, the church would pack in about 300 people, but over time the congregation dwindled to about 80 people and they couldn’t meet the demands of an aging church.
Time was not kind to the building. The roof began to leak, the foundation shifted, and the church couldn’t afford to update the antiquated electrical and mechanical system.
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Instead of just closing the doors and splitting off, volunteers decided to conduct an experiment of faith, looking for other churches that might be in the same boat.
In 2016, Knox-Metropolitan, Ritchie, Pleasantview and Avonmore all agreed to form a new church together.
They decided to sell off Knox-Metropolitan and Pleasantview, and turn Ritchie over to a growing Korean United group.
Avonmore’s church, rebuilt after a fire in 1986, became their new home and was quickly renamed ‘United on Whyte.’
In June, Edmonton city council voted to demolish the empty building and rezone the land for an eight- to nine-storey condo building, with townhouse style units facing 83 Avenue and retail space facing 109 Street.
The decision went against the current Area Structure Plan, which set a four-storey maximum for apartments.
However, council decided to allow the taller tower and higher density, anticipating more use of 109 Street as a transit corridor, as well as one day seeing the LRT along Whyte Avenue a block away.
The city said the proposed development would have 172 dwellings.