Government leaders and private investors have pumped in millions of dollars in recent years toward the vision of revitalizing the city’s downtown as a cosmopolitan hub for the arts, retail and residences.

Now, a church is taking the plunge: Redeemer Presbyterian Church is pouring nearly $5 million into the former YMCA building on St. Mary’s Street.

The 550-member congregation bought the defunct fitness facility in December with plans to begin an overhaul in May and a grand opening in about a year.

The purchase runs counter to conventional practice in San Antonio of churches moving out of urban neighborhoods inside Loop 410 to the city’s more affluent suburbs on the far North Side. For Redeemer Presbyterian, the location is ideal for the congregation to be “in the city, for the city,” said senior pastor and founder Tom Gibbs.

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