by Jackson Sveen

HUNTERSVILLE – Elevation Church, a Charlotte-based megachurch with more than 12,000 members spread across seven different locations, could be expanding to Lake Norman.

Elevation Lead Pastor Steven Furtick posted a report on the church website that includes a potential plan to expand to Huntersville. The website states the church is working to finalize one of two Huntersville locations to build a 1,200-seat venue.

Tonia Bendickson, outreach director at Elevation Church, confirmed that the church is looking at two locations in Huntersville that are “still in the works.”

“We have identified an existing location in Huntersville that we would be able to up-fit, giving us a new presence in the Greater Charlotte area,” the website post states.

More than 1,300 Huntersville-
area households have visited Elevation Church and more than 250 are connected to the church in some way. A map on the website, shows the two potential locations to be near the Huntersville Business Park and near Birkdale Village.

“We have a strong presence in the north Charlotte area, with many people driving to our Uptown and University locations. We believe a location in Huntersville is an integral step to continue to reach people far from God in the Charlotte area,” Furtick wrote on the site. He could not be reached for comment on the development before the Herald’s press deadline.

The newsletter states the projects aren’t under contract, but Elevation has letters of intent to buy the properties. As of the Herald’s Wednesday deadline, neither Huntersville town planners nor Town Manager Greg Ferguson had been contacted by the church.

“Generally churches are allowed in a lot of different zones,” Ferguson said. “Either it’s a by-right development or they really haven’t gotten that serious.”

If the project is a by-right development, it means Elevation would not have to come to the town board for approval.

Founded in 2006, Elevation is in its seventh year and, according to its website, is looking to raise $7 million in its “Banner Years Year-End Offering.”

The money will pay for land for a new headquarters in Ballantyne, estimated at $3.5 million, and for a Huntersville location, estimated at $2.6 million.

The newsletter states the projects will cost more than $7 million, but Elevation is approaching them in the same way they did their Blakeney location. Elevation paid cash for the land, then financed the construction, which was paid for through members’ tithes and offerings.

The church hopes to complete both the Ballantyne headquarters and the Huntersville location by fall 2014.

On top of the $2.6 million to buy property in Huntersville, the project would require an additional $4 million to $6 million to complete. A loan to pay for the project has been approved, and it will be covered by members’ offerings.

Visit www.elevationchurch.org/banneryears to read the newsletter.