Lake Villa, IL

From patrons to worshipers: Vacant Lake Villa building to go from library to church

Yadira Sanchez Olson

By Yadira Sanchez Olson

The deal isn’t sealed yet, but both parties are getting excited. 

In May, the Lake Villa District Library put the former Lake Villa building at 1001 E. Grand Avenue up for bid with a listed price of $1,995,000 with the Robert E. Frank Realty. 

Looking for a bigger space for their congregation to grow was Grayslake-based Grace Community Bible Church, which was the sole bidder of the 34,162-square-foot building that’s 40 years old.

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Former Lake Villa District Library building was sold Grace Community Bible ChurchYadira Sanchez Olson

Grace Community Bible Church purchased the property for $1,250,000 with a closing date of Sept. 30. 

Library Director Mikael Jacobsen said the church bid $1.1 million, and that was negotiated and approved by the LVDL Board of Trustees to $1.25 million. 

“Overall, everyone has been excited,” said Megan Thomas, assistant to the church’s lead director Pastor Mike Bryant.

“This is the way God's grace works,” Thomas said. “We’ll use this to build this church.”

The Grand Ave. property that Lake Villa District Library patrons for years had used as the place to borrow books, movies, music and enjoy programming is only 10 minutes away from the shopping center where the church has been renting suites since 2011 at 15 Commerce Drive in Grayslake.

Thomas said the church’s congregation is about 250 to 300 and is growing consistently. That location is a 10,000-square-foot space.  

“The new building will give more space to use for our ministry,” Thomas said. 

During summer, the church’s camps have needed to be capped to 70-80 kids because of the limited room capacity, officials said. 

The new location will allow for more community programming, such as the food pantry and work with the homeless. 

Thomas said the church offers weekly grace groups and a variety of ministries: Sunday worship services at 9 and 11 a.m, a children’s ministry for kids in 1st-5th grade and younger (ages birth-K) and Grace University.

According to the church’s website at mygracecommunity.org, other groups include teens who participate in local outreach service projects and ministries for women and men.

Photos of the inside of the former library building can be seen on the website. 

Thomas said the church will probably make some changes, perhaps updating the parking lot.

Decisions for where the worship center and other amenities will be located are still being made and when the church will start holding its services after the closing is “still up in the air.”

Jacobsen said that for transparency reasons, the realty negotiations were through a sealed bid.

“It’s not like selling a house,” Jacobsen said. “The library is a government agency.”

Adding that library officials are excited to finally sell the building that had been for sale since 2019, Jacobsen said it will be nice to stop paying for the vacant building’s maintenance.  

With the money from the property’s sale the library board will have some decisions to make. 

Jacobsen said nothing can be officially discussed, as the board has to approve any recommendations for what the funds could be used for, but they won’t do that until the closing is final.  

One idea could be the expansion of some services, he said.

“This sale really benefits the community,” Jacobsen said. “We’re in our new building, and the former one gets used by a church that really needed space for growth.”

The LVDL opened the doors to their new 66,000-square-foot structure at 140 N. Munn Road in Lindenhurst in August of 2019. 

The structure is more than double the size of the former library, with three floors to boast and nestled on Crooked Lake. 

The library serves almost 31,000 patrons.  

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Yadira Sanchez Olson is a bilingual (Spanish/English) reporter who has covered Lake County, IL news and its impact on communities for more than a decade. She’s generated a strong collection of sources that are used daily to provide timely and accurate news that’s relevant for readers. She loves to find the positive side in stories and share helpful information that can make life just a little easier and sweeter!

Round Lake, IL
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