Church to buy Coon Rapids Legion building

Contributing Writer

A church is finalizing its purchase of the Coon Rapids Legion Post building on Crooked Lake Boulevard.

The Coon Rapids American Legion Post property on Crooked Lake Boulevard is being sold to North Star Community Church. The Legion is looking for a new home. Photo by Peter Bodley
The Coon Rapids American Legion Post property on Crooked Lake Boulevard is being sold to North Star Community Church. The Legion is looking for a new home. Photo by Peter Bodley

Coon Rapids-based North Star Community Church has requested a conditional use permit from the city of Coon Rapids to use the building as a church. That will be considered by the Coon Rapids Planning Commission at its Thursday, Sept. 21 meeting.

According to Marty Fisher, broker and owner of Premier Commercial Properties, Ramsey, which has marketed the Legion post since the spring to May 2016, the sale has not yet been completed, but “it is under contract.”

Due diligence, which includes the church’s financing of the purchase and the city’s permit approval, has to occur before closing can take place, Fisher said in an interview.

The Rev. John Velsor, who is pastor of North Star Community Church with his wife, the Rev. Shannon Velsor, said that the church is purchasing the Legion post.

The Legion property is zoned for office use, but a church is a conditional use in that zoning district, according to Scott Harlicker, Coon Rapids planner.

“I don’t anticipate any issues with the conditional use permit,” Harlicker said.

From Harlicker’s conversations with Velsor, the church is proposing minor repairs and maintenance to both the exterior and interior of the building, he said.

The Legion is selling the post home because it needs to downsize, according to Commander Erv Eckmann.

It is too expensive for the Legion to remain in its existing building, for example, the parking lot needs to be repaired and that will cost a lot of money, Eckmann said.

A group of members is currently looking for a new, smaller home for the Legion, he said.

Whether the Legion will buy or lease remains undecided, but it will probably lease, according to Eckmann.

“We want to remain in Coon Rapids and will try to continue our programs,” Eckmann said.

With the sale of it building, the Legion expects to move “sometime in December,” he said.

According to Fisher, he is helping the Legion find another location.

The Legion property covers 3.63 acres at the corner of Crooked Lake and Northdale boulevards. The post building was constructed in 1961 and remodeled in 1970, 1977 and 1988.

It comprises a main level bar, banquet hall , kitchen and restrooms totaling 11,520 square feet and a 2,720 square-foot lower level that includes a bar and banquet room.

The property was originally listed for $1.28 million, but the sale price on the Premier Commercial Properties website now is $799,000.

The Velsors founded North Star Community Church, which is affiliated with the Assemblies of God, in 2011. Services originally took place at the AMC Showplace movie theater in Coon Rapids before moving to the Andover Cinema.

Earlier this year, the church moved to the former Redeemer Lutheran Church property on Northdale Boulevard, Coon Rapids.

It began worshiping at the Legion post in early August, according to the church’s Facebook page.