A hot plan for a decrepit Catholic school property in Jordan could awaken a corner of the quiet, semirural town.
The rundown property owned by St. John the Baptist parish could find new life as an unusual hybrid — a new City Hall combined with retail space and senior housing — in a plan under discussion among church leaders, city officials and potential developers.
The City Council will discuss the project at its Nov. 21 meeting, according to administrator Tom Nikunen. Three developers have expressed interest in the property, Nikunen said, and would raze the existing building because it’s beyond repair.
“It sounds like a great partnership that could happen,” he said. “We’re more than happy to work with the church and help the property get redeveloped.”
The building is ridden with asbestos, bats and birds, and has prompted discussions for reuse since 2007, according to church records. Previous ideas have fizzled and exceeded the parish budget, according to records. The parish’s business administrator, Michelle Lopez, emphasized that the parish has not agreed to sell the property. “It’s basically an idea floating out there right now,” Lopez said.
To accommodate its aging population, Jordan will need more than 100 senior housing units by 2020, according to a study commissioned by the Scott County Community Development Agency this year.
A record from the parish’s Oct. 4 meeting about the project said: “Senior living would bring alive this part of town.”
Since 2007, church leaders have considered demolishing the building or converting it to condos or a charter school. In 2014, the discussion reopened when the parish formed an executive committee to discuss demolition or remodeling. That year, the school ultimately opted to delay action to avoid debt, though the building costs $1,063 annually to maintain.
“This is an opportunity we may not get again,” the church minutes say. “Now is the time to act.”