Church of the Restoration of Life. Photo courtesy of Patrick Donlin.

Patrick Donlin has spent years renovating properties in East Dallas to save them from demolition.

He’s done about 30 so far, including an old church.

He heard about the property from a local real estate agent. Located at 400 Graham Avenue near the Santa Fe Trailhead, the Life Restoration Outreach Ministry property included a duplex in addition to the church building.

It took the Donlin team about 10 months to transform the 2,300 square foot building into a four bedroom, three bathroom home. It is the largest property Donlin has ever worked on.

The main line to the sewer was not installed correctly and had to be repaired. As the church was vacant, the windows were boarded up and broken and in need of repair.

Another challenge that Donlin had not faced before came with the layout of the building. Other houses he is renovating already have hallways and other interior walls to divide the rooms. But with the church, Donlin had to do some reconfiguration to make it feel like a home.

They were able to salvage the benches and reuse them as seats at the Chuckwagon Park food truck park. There was also a baptistery, but they couldn’t save it. Other than that, the only items left from the church were Bibles and office supplies.

Donlin, the founder of Mr. D Real Estate Group, says the property is now leased by four Woodrow Wilson alumni. He adds that many of the homes over 2,000 square feet that power Woodrow are often expensive. With this property, he wanted to have an attractive residence at a reasonable price for people associated with the neighborhood school.

The average rental rate for homes in Donlin is $ 1,650 per month, with a typical rental term of three years.

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