PONTIAC (WWJ) – A popular metro Detroit concert venue and dance club is shutting down as organizers launch a $2 million fundraising campaign for renovations.

Clutch Cargo’s, located on E. Huron Street in downtown Pontiac, will host its last show next Thursday, Nov. 14. After that, the venue will be renovated to serve its original purpose as a place of worship.

Senior Pastor Kent Clark said the property was purchased by an Oakland Township family and donated to the Grace Gospel Fellowship.

“What has happened is a donor, the Luther family, bought the building for Grace Gospel Fellowship and we’re just astounded at this miracle that has taken place, and taken place quickly,” Clark told WWJ’s Mike Blank. “The Luther family have been donating and giving here of their services for at least 13 years, mom and dad and their three daughters. A wonderful, wonderful family.”

The church has launched a $2 million fundraising campaign to help renovate and restore the 30,000 sq. ft. building, which sits directly across from Grace Centers of Hope, a full recovery and rehabilitation campus for men, women and children who are addicted or homeless.

“The renovations are going to be extensive. Of course, it’s been a bar for 20 years basically. So, we’re going to go in there and actually restore it to what it looked like originally and that’s going to take some time,” Clark said.

The building currently includes a main sanctuary with a balcony that will seat up to 650 people, an overflow space for an additional 100 people, a finished daylight basement and a 60 car parking lot.

Work to renovate the building will begin in January 2014 and will feature repairs to broken stained glass windows, a leaking roof, damaged bell tower and front walk and stairs; restored interior wood surfaces and sanctuary lighting; new paint for the building’s interior; new carpeting, chairs, an exterior message board and church signs; and a brand new, larger parking lot and backlit crosses for the tower.

Once renovated, the building will become the new home of Grace Gospel Fellowship church, provide administrative office space for staff and serve as the foundation for the organizations’ ministries.

“The blessing ceremony will actually take place on April 20th, Easter Sunday. That will be our first service. The building will be debt free,” Clark said.

History Of The Property

On Sept. 17, 1911, the First Congregational Church of Pontiac dedicated the property as a place of worship for local residents. By 1927, the exterior walls and roof were completed, however, a heavy debt remained unpaid and the depression arrived before five-year pledges could be paid. For the next 25 years, the “new” church remained boarded up and unfinished. In 1952, the church began work to complete the construction and was eventually dedicated on Oct. 7, 1962.

In 1997, the First Congregational Church sold the building to investors who renovated the structure into The Sanctum nightclub. It struggled for two years and eventually sold in 1999 and later reopened as Clutch Cargo’s. Clutch Cargo’s was then sold on land contract in 2001, however, the transaction was never completed and was returned to the original Clutch Cargo’s owners in 2005, where it has continued to operate until present day.

Donations toward the renovation project can be made online at www.gracecentersofhope.org.


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