CYPRESS : Churches Relocating Near Race Track Site

Two churches have secured permission from the City Council to relocate to the Cypress Business and Professional Center next to the Los Alamitos Race Course.

First Church of the Nazarene of Long Beach and Grace Church of Los Alamitos are in the process of purchasing parcels on the site along Cerritos Avenue. Both are planning extensive multiphase construction projects that will include elementary schools, fellowship halls, gymnasiums and other recreational buildings.

The expansive site, one of the last big pieces of open space in northwest Orange County, is what attracted both churches. “We have been trying to expand for about 20 years,” said the Rev. John Calhoun, senior pastor at First Church of the Nazarene. “This is the only available undeveloped piece of land to meet our requirements.”

The Long Beach church, with a membership of about 1,500, is in escrow for the 8-acre parcel. However, final approval is contingent upon the initial payment of more than $3 million being raised, Calhoun said. A final tally will be made this Sunday during regular services, he said.


Until now, Grace Church has sought land unsuccessfully. “We have looked year after year for a place to move,” said Bob Kingsbury, administrative pastor. Last year, church officials tried to relocate to an industrial park near the runway of the Los Alamitos Armed Forces Reserve Center. Citing safety reasons, the Los Alamitos City Council barred the deal.

The church plans to break ground in July on its 11-acre parcel, Kingsbury said. The first phase includes an auditorium with a seating capacity of 1,000, administration buildings, a preschool and nursery. Initial costs are estimated at $6 million, which was obtained through a church fund-raising campaign, he said.

Besides the churches, several other projects are expected to come before the City Council to fill the 75-acre Cypress Business and Professional Center. Plans call for a major hotel as well as several other businesses.