Historic downtown church is for sale

St. James Episcopal Church, built in 1867 at 833 W. Wisconsin Ave. in downtown Milwaukee, is for sale.

The half-acre property includes the 6,600-square-foot church building and the three-story, 18,600-square-foot Parish House building, which was built in 1899. The Parish House, located south of the church, includes offices, a library, chapel, restrooms, kitchen and a great room.

The church has a small congregation, with average Sunday attendance of about 40, which cannot afford the expensive costs to maintain an historic building, said Peggy Bean, canon for the Episcopal Diosocese of Milwaukee.

“A church community is not a building,” Bean said. “They are looking at other options.”

The church property is listed for sale by Michael Seramur of Ogden & Co. Inc.

The church has a “gorgeous” sanctuary, Seramur said. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated by the City of Milwaukee Historic Preservation Committee. It is considered one of the oldest stone structures in Milwaukee and was designed by architect Gordon William Lloyd in the Gothic Revival style, according to the Ogden listing.

The asking price for the property is $695,000.

The church is located next to Marquette University’s David A. Straz Jr. Tower dormitory. MU recently announced that it is purchasing a nine-acre site, including two office buildings from Zilber Ltd. and vacant land from the state Department of Transportation, south of the Straz Tower.

Sermur said he pitched the St. James Episcopal Church property to MU officials, but so far they have not made an offer to purchase it.

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