Post Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:27 am

Church of Scientology buys Sherlock Building

The Church of Scientology last week purchased its second historic downtown Portland building after the first didn’t meet its needs.

The Sherlock Building, at 309 S.W. Third Ave., is planned to be the headquarters for the church’s Portland chapter. The purchase is the second attempt for the church to establish a headquarters in Portland. The first building it bought, the Stevens Building at 812 S.W. Washington St., didn’t work out and is now up for sale.

“We love the Stevens Building,” said Gwen Barnard, spokeswoman for the Portland chapter of the church. “We don’t want anyone to think there’s anything wrong with it.”

The Church of Scientology prefers iconic buildings in cities where it locates headquarters. It purchased the Stevens Building for $5.38 million in 2008. It’s only a few blocks away from the Sherlock Building, which it purchased for $6.4 million from Seattle-based Urban Renaissance Group. Portland-based Butler Brokers managed the sale for the buyer. Norris, Beggs & Simpson represented the seller. Urban Renaissance Group bought the building in 2007 for $9.75 million.

“We had the opportunity to purchase the Sherlock Building for what we got it for,” said the Rev. Steven Crandell, president of the church’s Portland chapter. Crandell said the church has been in negotiations to buy the building since last fall.

After the church purchased the Stevens Building and completed an architectural inspection, it discovered it could not build a chapel in the building without completing expensive renovations, Crandell said. The church needs a space for a chapel that would fit about 250 people...............
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