HANOVER COUNTY, Va. — The collection plate at a Hanover County church has runneth over thanks to a real estate-hungry German grocery chain.
Lidl, which soon is opening its first wave of stores in the Richmond market, earlier this month paid $4.87 million for 6 acres at 6395 Mechanicsville Turnpike, which held the former Shalom Baptist Church building. The land most recently was assessed at $1.47 million.
Shalom Baptist has occupied the roughly 12,000-square-foot building since 1972. The church vacated the site a few weeks ago, and the sale closed June 19.
Pastor Mark Miller said Lidl approached the church in spring 2015.
“This has been a long journey for our church,” Miller said. “Lidl isn’t the big greedy monster that forced the little church off its land. The church was well aware of this and moved through a series of meetings … and voted with a strong majority to do this.”
In the interim, Shalom Baptist and its 250 congregants are gathering at Pole Green Elementary School at 8993 Pole Green Park Lane, with a plan to build a permanent residence already in the works 1.5 miles down the road.
“We have land we’re looking to close on very soon on Walnut Grove Road,” Miller said, adding that it hopes to open the new spot in late summer 2018.