The former Clutch Cargo nightclub in Pontiac is turning into a church.
In an announcement Thursday, Luther Family of Oakland Township said it had purchased the property on East Huron Street and donated it to Grace Gospel Fellowship, the parent organization of Grace Centers of Hope.
Grace Centers of Hope and Grace Gospel Fellowship church have launched a $2 million fundraising campaign to help renovate and restore the building.
The 30,000 sq. ft. building sits directly across from Grace Centers of Hope, a full recovery and rehabilitation campus for men, women and children who are addicted or homeless.
Once renovated, the building will become the new home of Grace Gospel Fellowship church, provide administrative office space for Grace Centers of Hope staff, and serve as the foundation for the organizations’ ministries.
The building currently includes a main sanctuary with a balcony that will seat up to 650 people, an overflow space for an additional 100 people, a finished daylight basement, and a parking lot that accommodates 60 car spaces.
Work to renovate the building will begin in January 2014 and will feature: repairs to broken stained glass windows, a leaking roof, a damaged bell tower and front walk and stairs; restored interior wood surfaces and sanctuary lighting; new paint for the building's interior; new carpeting, chairs, an exterior message board and church signs; and a brand new, larger parking lot and backlit crosses for the tower.
The building has been a church before.
According to Grace Centers, on Sept. 17, 1911, the First Congregational Church of Pontiac dedicated the property as a place of worship for local residents. By 1927, the exterior walls and roof were completed, however, a heavy debt remained unpaid and the depression arrived before five-year pledges could be paid. For the next twenty-five years, the “new” church remained boarded up and unfinished. In 1952, the church began work to complete the construction and was eventually dedicated on Oct. 7, 1962.
In 1997, the First Congregational Church sold the building to investors who renovated the structure into The Sanctum nightclub.
It struggled for two years and eventually sold in 1999 and later reopened as Clutch Cargo.
Clutch Cargo was then sold on land contract in 2001, however, the transaction was never completed and was returned to the original Clutch Cargo owners in 2005, where it has continued to operate until present day.
To support the work of Grace Centers of Hope, including the renovation of the former Clutch Cargo nightclub, please make checks payable to Grace Centers of Hope and send to 35 E. Huron St., Pontiac, Michigan 48342 or donate online at www.gracecentersofhope.org.