“There are always challenges,” said Alex Mayer, the new Property Manager for Greater New Jersey as he spoke by phone while driving to yet another conference-owned property.
Since joining GNJ in August, Mayer has crisscrossed the state, averaging more than 1,000 miles a week on his car, visiting many of the empty buildings, former churches and abandoned cemeteries owned by the conference.
Part of his job is to create a photo library of all buildings, arrange for lawn care and snow removal, ensure that all contracts and insurance policies are up to date and in order and all oil tanks and boilers are properly maintained and in working order.
The ultimate goal is to sell the properties to benefit growing vital congregations and starting new faith communities.
Even though the properties are to be sold, Mayer still needs to maintain the appearance of each. “The property’s appearance needs to look presentable,” Mayer said, not only to increase the probability of selling the property but to maintain neighborly relations. “Many of these buildings are in small towns.”
Bishop John Schol explained the need to sell the buildings. “It is helping us reduce property inventory. GNJ has a number of church buildings and parsonages for sale,” said Schol. “Church properties are hard to sell and already Alex has helped us. This not only provides GNJ income but reduces insurance and maintenance costs and liability.”
GNJ currently has 26 properties for sale. Mayer said he had one property under contract, one in negotiation, one awaiting a letter of intent, “and one closed yesterday,” Mayer said. “We have six or seven sold or in progress.”
A secondary goal for Mayer is to be a resource for District Superintendents with major issues at active local churches.
Bishop Schol explained that Mayer will alleviate Superintendents from having to deal directly with property issues. Having Mayer in place will free Superintendents to “grow vital congregations and assist with starting new faith communities,” Bishop Schol said.
“If there is asbestos on site, or a roof leak, I can be a resource, I can advise,” Mayer continued. In the future, Mayer plans to have a list of vendors to which churches can turn when issues arise. “I’m also looking for a more consolidated way to buy fuel oil and propane.”
Mayer is uniquely qualified for the position. He started in construction during his college years.
“I learned how to frame houses, read blueprints, I became the foreman,” he explained.
His varied career includes owning his own limousine business and as a car sales manager.
As GNJ’s Property Manager, Mayer described his goal for the future. “I want to come up with a standard protocol for when we close a church, or when there is a merger and we have to sell off a church or a parsonage. So we are not playing catch-up.”