Press release from About Jubilee! Community:
Jubilee! Community, a spiritual community that has been active in Asheville for over three decades, has sold their building located at 46 Wall Street (with a separate entrance at 101 Patton Avenue) to Anthony Ruben, the founder of Equitas Company, for $1,879,750. The sale is scheduled to close on May 19th. Ruben will be the sole owner and Equitas will manage the property. Ruben expects to have the building ready to lease for office and retail space in about six months, noting, “We’re tremendously enthusiastic about acquiring this historic building, and we look forward to it continuing to contribute to the already great city of Asheville.”
“The past few years have been difficult for the Jubilee! community,” stated Jubilee!’s administrator Bruce Mulkey. “The combined impact of the retirement of our founder and long time minister Howard Hanger, the COVID pandemic’s interruption of our in-person Sunday Celebrations, and other factors significantly diminished the size of our membership. With a smaller community, not enough donations were coming in to pay the mortgage, utilities and upkeep on such a large building.”
Gretchen Henn¸ vice chair and treasurer of Jubilee!’s board of directors, added, “Recognizing that the essence of Jubilee! is our community, not our building, we took a hard look at the economics of trying to retain 46 Wall Street and could not come up with a sustainable model. What made sense from a financial standpoint was putting the building on the market.”
Knowing that many churches that sell their buildings go through their windfall money too fast to succeed in the long term, Jubilee! is focusing on a sustainable model that will support it hiring a new minister and attracting new members. It has entered into a partnership with the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina to manage the funds from the building sale. The money remaining after the mortgage and other items are paid will be put into separate funds for specific needs. This includes having immediate funds to support Jubilee!’s growth, while creating a permanent endowment to continue making donations to non-profit service organizations that support unhoused and low-income individuals and families, and setting aside a large reserve for whatever comes next.
Instead of immediately buying another building, Jubilee! is renting space to hold its Sunday Celebrations at Rainbow Community School Auditorium in West Asheville. “There is a natural synergy between Jubilee! and Rainbow,” Mulkey said, noting that both organizations place emphasis on building a socially just, spiritually connected, and environmentally sustainable world. “Beyond having similar values, we are also excited about having plenty of free parking and outdoor space at Rainbow.
Jubilee! will hold its final Sunday Celebration at 46 Wall Street on May 14th, and begin holding them at Rainbow on May 21st.