By Ken Camp
The new owners of Glorieta Conference Center have increased the maximum amount to buy out leaseholders on the property from $40,000 to $100,000.
Glorieta 2.0, the Christian camping group taking over the cash-strapped New Mexico facility from LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, offered concessions after meeting with people who own homes built on land leased from the previous owner.
The new owners originally offered a one-time buyout of $40,000 regardless of the structure’s size. The new deal offers $30 per square foot for finished and heated living space up to a maximum of $100,000. Leaseholders choosing the option have until Dec. 1 to vacate.
Permanent residents – those who do not own another home and live on the property at least 300 days a year and missionaries who designate the property as their permanent U.S. address – can continue to lease their property as long as they want and are physically able to remain there. The original proposal was that all leases would expire after 12 years, and any facilities not removed would then become property of Glorieta 2.0.
Charles Goodyear of Arlington, Texas, a leaseholder at Glorieta, characterized the provision for full-time residents as “a major improvement” but said the increased payout amount is well below comparable markets in Santa Fe, 25 miles away, where homes run $250 per square foot, and Eldorado, eight miles away, where the average cost per square foot is $206.
A July 12 letter from owner to leaseholders described the expanded offer as “a stretch for us – and as far as we can go and still be able to have the resources needed to revitalize Glorieta as we all desire.”
Glorieta 2.0 purchased the 2,100-acre property for $1 in June. The conference center opened in 1952 had lost money 24 of the last 25 years before LifeWay decided two years ago to dispose of it.
The Baptist Convention of New Mexico wanted the property, but after study decided it couldn’t afford deferred maintenance costs estimated between $10 million and $20 million.
Olivet University, a Christian college in California led by former Southern Baptist missionary and seminary professor Bill Wagner, also made an offer, but it was rejected after an independent review of doctrinal compatibility.