Supporting a clinic by selling a parking lot

Family Tree Clinic—a nonprofit community health and education leader in inclusive, dignified and excellent health care for LGBTQ communities and others most impacted by health disparities—is a potential new neighbor. Family Tree reaches 22,000 people a year through their medical clinic, health education programs and medical provider training, and they want to expand to Minneapolis and continue to serve more people in need. They are in the process of buying 1925 Nicollet—right across the street—and would like to have a bit more land to expand than the current PPL building footprint. To that end, we have been in conversation with them and with Plymouth’s lay leadership about a possible sale of a small parking lot area adjacent to their new building. Some of you may be unaware that we even own this lot. At present, the lot is costing us more through maintenance, snow removal and taxes than we gain from renting the spaces during the week.

As the Acting Senior Minister, I want to give you some background, as this sale would need to be voted upon by you, our members, if approved. The proposed sale is of the smallest of our three parking lots—really, it’s just a strip of parking lot, about 20 spaces, between two other parking lots. Please note that the clinic will allow us to use those parking spots on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings.

We took this request to the Buildings and Grounds Committee, and they thought it was worth exploring. Next stop was the Board of Finance and Administration, who also found the proposed sale worth exploring. The clinic had made a bid, which we believed was low. We asked Plymouth member John Breitinger to write an Opinion of Value, which was shared with Family Tree Clinic leaders. They came back with an offer almost double their original: $250,000. The Board of Finance felt satisfied and sent the proposal on the Deacons. The Deacons discussed and approved this proposed sale on July 22 and have called a special meeting of the congregation on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019, following the 10:30 a.m. service so that members may vote on this sale of land, per Plymouth’s bylaws.

Please note that Family Tree Clinic is facing a time crunch related to the potential acquisition of the parking lot because they need to close on acquisition of any land or building by August 30 to avoid paying significant capital gains tax. We support their mission and wish to help them avoid tens of thousands of dollars in costs that, with our help, they do not need to spend.

Lay leaders, staff and I offer this background so that you may be better informed. We understand that an August congregational meeting is not ideal; however, Family Tree Clinic is facing a time crunch, which is driving our timetable. Some have asked how we will use the proceeds from the sale; we don’t know yet, but that will be taken up by the leadership with the involvement of the congregation. If you have any questions, please contact me at or Moderator Brian Siska,

—Paula Northwood