KITCHENER -- The keys to St. Marks Lutheran Church on King Street now belong to Indwell.

The company will turn the 81-year-old property into a 40-unit affordable housing project, all while maintaining the outside structure so it still looks like a church.

There are also plans to add another floor to the property to give it some more space.

Church officials said the building has a history of helping people in need and they're glad to see that work continue.

Indwell has projects in Hamilton, Woodstock, London and Mississauga. St. Marks will be their first building in Waterloo Region.

"We've got about six sites that we're taking a look at with folks who have called us and said “Hey, with what you're doing over there at St. Marks, think about us," said Graham Cubitt, director of projects and development with the company.

The congregation at St. Marks Lutheran Church amalgamated with Trillium Lutheran Church in Waterloo in 2018. The building went up for sale after that amalgamation.

They settled on Indwell after checking out their projects in Hamilton.

'[It let us] actually see and start to visualize what could happen at the St. Marks property," said Laurie Kitchen, treasurer of Trillium Lutheran Church.

Kitchen said they wanted the church to leave a legacy.

"So not asking for full market value, but what was fair for the congregation to receive," she said.

The church's last purpose was as an emergency overflow shelter from late 2019 to March of 2020, contributing to its history of helping people in need.

"There's been several AA groups that met regularly at St. Marks, we've had other groups too," former congregational co-chair Jim Oakley said. "We've run just about every space possible in the building over the years, for the community."

Church officials said it's a bittersweet goodbye for a building with so many memories.

"However, knowing that it will have a new purpose that helps the community, that helps balance it," Kitchen said.

Indwell is happy to keep that legacy alive.

"For us to be able to come alongside and take the baton into the next leg of the race, so to speak, is exciting for us," Cubitt said.

The region isn't involved in the project directly, but said it's happy to see more affordable housing.

Indwell plans to begin construction this winter.