A church in Jersey Township is planning a $20 million expansion that could lead to the hiring of more than 40 new employees.
Faith Life Church, 2407 Beech Road NW, wants to build a 150,000-square-foot addition to accommodate new and existing programs, said Tim Keesee, a pastor for the church.
The 50,000-square-foot church building is on 37 acres, land church leaders want annexed from Jersey Township to New Albany, Keesee said. The main reason for that annexation is to access utilities the city provides, he said.
That annexation-request ordinance was on the agenda for a second reading and public hearing at New Albany City Council’s June 5 meeting. A first reading of a rezoning to a planned-unit development for the land also was set for June 5.
However, per the church’s request, the annexation request was tabled to June 19 so it can be on the same agenda as the second reading of the rezoning, said Jennifer Chrysler, New Albany’s community-development director.
Ordinances and rezoning requests in New Albany require two readings before a vote, she said.
The next step for the rezoning would be for the New Albany Planning Commission to review the application and make a recommendation to council, Chrysler said.
If the annexation and rezoning applications are approved, Faith Life Church would need to submit the final development plan to the planning commission, she said. Council members don’t have to approve the final development plan, she said.
Although Keesee did not have an estimated starting date for the expansion, construction would take about 12 to 18 months, he said.
The project would include a 2,000-seat auditorium for weekend services, Keesee said.
About 3,000 people attend the nondenominational church’s weekend services, he said. Most are from Gahanna, Johnstown, New Albany, Pataskala and Westerville, but some drive up to two hours to attend services, he said.
The church has four services per weekend: a Saturday service and three Sunday services. The building also serves as a community center, with a variety of family programs, he said.
“A church is more than just a gathering place on the weekends,” Keesee said.
Faith Life Church opened at its current location in 2008, he said. Prior to that, the church had rented a warehouse in New Albany near old state Route 161. It bought the land on Beech Road with the expectation it would have a permanent home, he said.
The current facility includes a main auditorium, a children’s area and an open community space, Keesee said.
About 60 full- and part-time staff members are employed at Faith Life Church, Keesee said. After that, he expects the roster of staff members to increase to potentially more than 100, he said.
“It could go beyond that, as well,” he said. “You never know.”
The church property is within the Johnstown-Monroe Local School District and its income taxes go to the city of New Albany, Chrysler said.