Oslo Seamen’s Church up for sale

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The only Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Norway, located in a large historic house on Oslo’s fashionable Bygdøy peninsula, is up for sale as residential real estate that’s likely to be the most expensive home on the market. Appraised at NOK 70 million (USD 11.2 million), the sale can provide a windfall for its seller, the seamen’s mission (Den Indre Sjømannsmisjon).

The seamen's church on Oslo's fashionable Bygdøy peninsula is appraised at NOK 70 million. PHOTO: Den Indre Sjømannsmisjon

The seamen’s church on Oslo’s fashionable Bygdøy peninsula is appraised at NOK 70 million. PHOTO: Den Indre Sjømannsmisjon

The Christian mission group decided to sell the property earlier this year, but newspaper Aftenposten reported on Wednesday that the pending sale hasn’t been without conflict. The mission took over the property in 1985 for the symbolic sum of NOK 1, after the chairman of its former owner and operator, Oslo sjømannsmisjon, neared retirement age and there were fewer seamen needing its services. The other Christian mission group has operated it since but decided to sell for economic reasons.

The conflict has been over whether it should have been sold to another Christian group, to carry on an unwritten agreement that the property be operated in a Christian manner, or whether it should be sold on the open market. Sitting on a large waterfront property, the house built in 1915 would fetch far more on the open market than with restrictions. “There’s no legal problem (with selling it on the open market), but it challenges us morally,” Jon Kristian Lomundal of the mission’s board told Aftenposten.

Real estate brokers say any buyer would likely need to invest millions more in renovations of the house for purely residential use. Bygdøy is also home to various embassy residences and some mansions have been replaced with condominium complexes. “I don’t think it will be difficult to sell,” said Tom Elliot Johnsen of the Sem & Johnsen real estate brokerage,

The seamen’s church on Bygdøy is not part of the voluntary organization Sjømannskirken, which runs Norwegian Seamen’s Churches around the world on behalf of the Norwegian state church and the government, to serve as churches for Norwegians abroad.

newsinenglish.no staff