A piece of land at the center of a Southside church bankruptcy case is on its way to a new life.
A 2.6-acre parcel at Cowardin Avenue and Perry Street near Manchester has been cleared, and $5 million in building permits have been issued for a new self-storage facility on land previously owned by the now-bankrupt Richmond Christian Center.
The property was sold to Mini Price Storage earlier this year by Stephen Parson Jr., son of Richmond Christian Center pastor Stephen Parson Sr. That deal is still a point of contention in a long-running court fight between the church and lender Foundation Capital Resources.
The Christian Center sold a 17-parcel property, allegedly by mistake, to Parson Jr. in 2011 for less than $200,000. According to court filings, the church meant to sell only one small parcel. When confronted with the mistake, Parson Jr. allegedly said “Too bad, you should have read the deed.”
Parson, acting as SP Five Properties LLC, bought the land for $180,000. He then sold it to Mini Price Storage for $850,000 last year. The property was most recently assessed at $1.28 million.
Foundation Capital Resources earned an injunction barring Parson from disposing of more than $370,000 of the sale’s proceeds. A trial will be held this month in which the lender will try to take that money back to help pay down the church’s roughly $2 million debt.
Foundation Capital sued Parson, SP Five Properties and an LLC run by Mini Price Storage earlier this year to try and get back either the land or the proceeds Parson’s sale generated.
In late August, however, Mini Price was dismissed as a defendant in that suit after Foundation Capital concluded the storage company could likely succeed in defending its purchase as one it made in good faith and without knowledge of a potential conflict over the land.
The Richmond Christian Center is currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy after filing to stave off a foreclosure auction on its church building at 214 Cowardin Ave. last year. Foundation Capital has requested the bankruptcy be converted to a Chapter 7 liquidation. A hearing on the request is scheduled for Sept. 26.
Mini Price representatives could not be reached for comment on their specific plans for the property. Virginia Beach-based Michael D. Sifen Inc. is the project’s contractor.