Elevation Church buying Matthews shopping center for $10.2 million

Elevation Church has spent $10.2 million to buy the shopping center that is home to its Matthews campus.

The multicampus church closed the purchase of the Matthews Plaza Shopping Center, at 11416 E. Independence Blvd., on Wednesday, according to Mecklenburg County real estate records. A church representative couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.

The shopping center also includes an Ashley Furniture store, a Tuesday Morning store, Consignment 1st and an Italian eatery.

On Thursday, Elevation chief financial officer Chunks Corbett said in an emailed statement that the purchase “gives us flexibility in the future as we grow.” He didn’t offer further details, and Corbett didn’t return messages seeking comment.

Spokeswoman Tonia Bendickson said Thursday that the church is expanding, but exact details haven’t been determined yet.

The church is led by charismatic Pastor Steven Furtick and leases about 45,000 square feet of the 140,000-square-foot shopping center. Elevation, founded in 2006, has 10 campuses in the Charlotte region and has been one of the fastest-growing churches in the nation.

George Macon with MPV Properties represented Elevation, and Will Whitley of New South Properties represented the seller, NSP Matthews Plaza. The company bought the shopping center in 2004, after the property had sat vacant for a decade following the exit of former anchor tenant Kmart. After a $12 million renovation, Matthews Plaza reopened and was able to start leasing again.

According to the church’s most recent full audit in 2013, Elevation:

• Had revenue of $25.2 million from general offerings.

• Had $14.5 million worth of construction in progress, including a $10.5 million new campus in the Lake Norman area.

• Had $40.6 million worth of credit left under a $50 million nonrevolving credit facility for funding construction projects.