NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A local real estate development firm has found a niche – taking what’s old and then making it new again while also giving back to the community at the same time.
While many developers might see an old, abandoned church as nothing more than a ‘tear down,’ Micah Lacher sees it as an opportunity to serve.
“We have loved buying these old churches, which are sadly closing down these days. Their congregants have moved out of the area and we wanted to repurpose these churches so they can still have a ministry impact but turn them into a commercial business,” says Lacher.
Lacher owns Anchor Investments, which buys old churches and turns them into hotels. But, these aren’t your average hotels.
“We give the majority of the profits away to underserved communities, mainly the homeless community in Nashville,” says Lacher.
Yes, a for-profit real estate development firm gives the majority of their profits away.
How do they make money? It’s thanks to the commercial part of Anchor Investments.
“We laugh. From a business perspective it is a horrible idea. No business should giveaway the majority of their profits,” says Lacher. “But, we are so grateful to have the commercial business, which can fund our team, our company, and just use this for good.”
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As of the end of 2021, Anchor Investments provided more than 120,000 meals, beds, and showers to the local community through organizations like the Nashville Rescue Mission, with no plans to slow down.
The first property they flipped was 506 Lofts downtown. Then, The Russell Hotel, which used to be the Russell Street Church of Christ.
The Gallatin Hotel on Gallatin Avenue was once home to the Eastside Church of Christ.
Their latest project will be the Tulip Street United Methodist Church.
The old church will soon become a hotel, too, and although a name has not been announced yet, the working name is “The Tulip.”
Throughout all the projects, you’ll see remnants of the old churches.
“We try to honor everything we can,” says Lacher. “Like at The Russell, all the beds are made out of the old church pews. The stained glass, we redid all the stained glass windows.”
At The Gallatin, original photographs are on display, with a modern flair and neon lights.
“Churches have traditionally been the heartbeat of the community,” says Lacher.
That tradition of service will continue, just in a different way. “It’s been super impactful for people to think, ‘I’m laying here in this hotel tonight, there’s someone downtown who would not have had a bed to lay in otherwise.'”
An added bonus for Anchor Investments, restoring and maintaining old Nashville for future generations.
The “Tulip Street” project will be able to host events and will likely have about 20 hotel rooms.
The tentative opening date is set for early 2023.