YORK – Foundations Church Williamsburg has cleared one hurdle in its quest to move into the former JCPenney store at the Marquis Shopping Center in Greater Williamsburg, and is set to tackle another.
The church has not acquired the building, but it does have a contract to do so, according to Jim Knicely, who is on the church’s governing board and spoke recently on its behalf. While York County has approved the zoning, the church needs others to be on board, also.
“Right now, we’re working on attempting to get the approvals of all the different property owners out there to permit the use under the restricted covenants,” Knicely said. “The covenants are primarily commercial in nature, so we are contacting all of the different property owners to seek an amendment of the covenants.”
He’s hoping to know in the next month or two if they receive approval.
“That has to be done or otherwise we can’t use it for the purpose that we want to,” Knicely said.
Knicely said 25 percent of the building must be used for commercial purposes, probably food and beverage, which likely would be leased.
“It seems it would be a good integration into the shopping center,” Knicely said.
However, those plans aren’t fully defined, yet.
“We have to be able to use the building for the basic anchor purpose, which is the church,” Knicely said. “First things first.”
He also noted they don’t have any timelines because they are waiting on the approval. However, there could be a lot of renovations ahead for the 105,000-square foot facility.
“Obviously, it would have to be configured for a sanctuary or place of assembly,” Knicely said.
Early plans also included an auditorium, childcare center, and a community service workforce training center.
The congregation, which has about 400 members, currently holds services Sundays at 8:30am and 10:30am at Magruder Elementary School. It also has used Bruton High School, the DoubleTree Hotel, and Legacy Hall.
“The church has a need. It’s been growing, so there’s a need for space,” Knicely said. “Of course, you have to think long and not short term in this type of situation.”